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CB10-CN.51

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14, 2010

Tennessee is the Fourth State to Match or Surpass Its 2000 Census Mail Participation Rates

With the Friday mail-back deadline looming, Census Director says: “Well done, keep it going!”

     U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves today congratulated those communities who are making history by helping to boost the mail participation rates across the Nation, including the state of Tennessee, which today joined North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky on the list of states that have matched or surpassed their census mail participation rate from the 2000 Census.

     A number of counties and cities have also reached this milestone (see: http://2010.census.gov/news/xls/matched_surpassed_4-14.xls for the full list), including the following counties that have increased their 2000 Census mail participation rate by 10 or more percentage points:

COUNTY 2000 Census 2010 Census Increase
Monroe County, FL 60 95 35
Chisago County, MN 54 78 24
Brunswick County, NC 46 70 24
Georgetown County, SC 48 68 20
Sumter County, FL 62 81 19
Carteret County, NC 51 70 19
Pike County, PA 47 66 19
Skagit County, WA 53 72 19
Pender County, NC 53 71 18
Franklin County, VA 63 76 13
Walton County, FL 55 68 13
Columbus County, NC 54 66 12
Lee County, NC 57 68 11
Laurens County, SC 57 68 11
Orangeburg County, SC 53 64 11
Haywood County, NC 60 70 10
Bedford County, VA 68 78 10
Putnam County, FL 55 65 10

    The announcement comes with just a few days remaining before the Census Bureau must shift away from accepting forms by mail and start preparing to send more than 600,000 census takers door to door to count households that failed to mail their forms back.

     “I'd like to congratulate the residents of Tennessee as well as the counties and cities that 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 nonresponding households.”

     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 toward winning the "Take 10 Challenge," named after the 10 minutes or less required to fill out the form.

     Nationwide, 67 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.

     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/).

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. Census takers will be knocking on doors to obtain responses from every household that didn't mail back its 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).

ABOUT THE 2010 CENSUS

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.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: September 09, 2014