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"I'd like to congratulate the residents of these states, counties and cities who completed and mailed back their census forms," Groves said. "Greater participation means a more complete and accurate count, as well as fewer households that we'll need to visit in person beginning in May. I also encourage them to keep it going. Every increase in response can help us save money on the expensive follow up to non-responding households," Groves added.
Since the first forms were delivered in March, the Census Bureau has urged all communities to take on the challenge of exceeding their mail participation rates from the 2000 Census. An interactive online map and a customizable Web "widget" have given communities the ability to track their own progress towards winning the "Take 10 Challenge," named after the 10 minutes or less required to fill out the form.
Nationwide, 65 percent of households have mailed back their census forms heading into the last week. The Take 10 Challenge for the nation is to exceed the mail participation rate of 72 percent achieved a decade ago -- when America reversed a three-decade decline in mail participation.
In addition to the states of North and South Carolina (which both met their 2000 Census rates -- 66 and 65 percent, respectively), cities and counties that have reached this milestone so far include the following:
The following had the highest percentage point increases:
The latest rates for all states, counties, places, towns and townships can be found on the Take 10 Challenge Map (http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/). A list of larger jurisdictions (populations of 50,000 or more) that have met or exceeded their 2000 Census rates is also online (see: http://www.2010.census.gov/news/xls/2000vs2010_50k_or_more.xls).[Excel]
Households should mail back their forms by Friday, April 16, to help assure that they are not included in the in-person follow-up phase of the census that starts in May. Approximately 700,000 temporary census takers will be knocking on doors to obtain responses from every household that didn't mail back their form in time.
The Census Bureau saves about $85 million in operational costs for every percentage point increase in the nation's participation rate by mail. If every household completed and mailed back their census form, taxpayers could reduce the cost of taking the census and save $1.5 billion. In 2000, the nation reversed a three-decade decline in mail response rates and saved $305 million.
If you did not receive a Census form or cannot locate it, you can pick up a form at a Questionnaire Assistance Center or Be Counted site near you, which can be found at: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/ You can also provide your census responses over the phone after April 12 to the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Center (English: 1-866-872-6868; Chinese: 1-866-935-2010; Korean: 1-866-955-2010; Russian: 1-866-965-2010; Spanish: 1-866-928-2010; Vietnamese: 1-866-945-2010; TDD (Telephone Display Device for the hearing impaired): 1-866-783-2010).
The 2010 Census is a count of everyone living in the United States and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Census data are used to apportion congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to tribal, state and local governments each year and to make decisions about what community services to provide. The 2010 Census form is one of the shortest in U.S. history, consisting of 10 questions, taking about 10 minutes to complete. Strict confidentiality laws protect the respondents and the information they provide.