Contact: Public Information Office
Today marks the two-day countdown for residents across America to mail back their 2010 Census questionnaires. Households that return their forms after Friday, April 16, will likely be visited by census workers, who begin May 1 going door to door to collect census responses.
Residents are encouraged to promptly mail back their forms, because doing so would reduce the cost of administering the census by $1.5 billion — funds that would be given back to taxpayers. After the 2000 Census, the Census Bureau was able to return $305 million in savings to the federal Treasury, because mail response rates exceeded expectations — a move the Census Bureau would like to repeat in 2010.
Each 1 percent increase in the national mail participation rate saves taxpayers $85 million by not sending census workers door to door from nonresponsive households. It costs 42 cents for people to mail back their form, compared with an average of $57 for census takers to visit each home and collect census data.
“Mailing back your form saves taxpayers money and ensures your community's fair share of $400 billion in federal funds,” U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said. “Residents who miss the April 16 deadline should be prepared to get a knock on their doors between May and July.”
Nationwide, about 67 percent of households have mailed back their census forms. In 2000, the mail participation rate was 72 percent.
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.