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With just over one week left for households to mail back their 2010 Census forms, thousands of volunteers in more than 6,000 neighborhoods plan to participate in “March to the Mailbox” parades, marches, walks, rallies and motorcades on Sat., April 10 — hoping to remind people that it's not too late to mail back their forms and be counted.
The grassroots outreach, led by census partners, volunteers and local residents, are being held nationwide in neighborhoods with low mail participation rates — from Miami to Seattle and Detroit to Houston. During the events, volunteers will come together in high traffic areas to remind residents that it is not too late to mail back their Census forms and encourage those who have delayed to “March to the Mailbox” and mail it back today.
“This is a great example of neighbors working together to ensure their community gets its fair share of federal resources for roads, schools and other important community services as well as congressional representation,” U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said. “For those who have not yet responded, we ask that you join your neighbors and mail back your easy-to-complete, 10 question census form today.”
The “March to the Mailbox” is one final effort to boost mail back rates in hard-to-count communities before personal visits to non-responding households start May 1. Households have until April 16 to mail back their form, as the Census Bureau must begin preparing to train temporary census workers to obtain census responses in person from households that did not send back their forms.
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.
Nationwide, currently 64 percent of households have mailed back their census forms. In 2000, the mail participation rate was 72 percent. For the first time, the Census Bureau has mailed replacement forms to areas with historically low mail response rates. Research shows that the replacement forms will help increase mail response in those areas, which significantly reduces the cost of taking the census.
The Census Bureau has created tools to help communities track their census participation through a campaign that is urging everyone to “Take 10” minutes to fill out and mail back their form. The Take 10 Challenge Map on the 2010 Census Web site shows the latest daily participation rates, giving users the option to download and embed a local rate tracker “widget” on their own Web site.
All census responses are confidential. Answers are protected by law and cannot be shared with anyone. Extreme measures are taken to protect the identity of individuals and businesses. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents' individually identifiable answers with anyone, including tribal housing authorities, other federal agencies and law enforcement entities.
If you did not receive a Census form or cannot locate it, visit: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/ to find a “Be Counted” site in your neighborhood, where forms are available. Or, call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Center at 1-866-872-6868 for help.
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.