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Census Bureau Director Says Early Census 2000 Returns Show Much Work Ahead If Nation To Have Successful Census

Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt today released the first public report on America's response to Census 2000, showing that 42 percent of the questionnaires have been returned so far.

Release of the first response information launches a program by the Census Bureau to provide daily reports on initial response rates for every state, county and local jurisdiction in the country over the next 16 days. Most communities can compare their 2000 performance with its record in the 1990 census.

Prewitt has challenged the country to surpass its 1990 initial mail response rate of 65 percent, and set a goal for the country and most communities to increase their 1990 response rates by at least 5 percentage points.

"A national response rate that reaches 70 percent would signal that the country has reversed its decades-long decline in civic participation," the director said. "It is too early to know whether we can reach that goal or even match the 1990 response rate. By reporting the cumulative initial response rate every day, the Census Bureau invites the country to watch this story unfold.

"Although 42 percent of the households have returned the form, that leaves 58 percent not heard from. The success of Census 2000 is in the hands of the American people."

Daily updates on the percentage of households that have mailed back their Census 2000 questionnaires are being posted by the Census Bureau on its Web site, <>, as part of a grassroots campaign to encourage census participation called How America Knows What America Needs. The figures reflect the rates as of the close of business, two days before. The report is updated daily at 6 p.m.

Initial response rates will be posted online for:

  • The nation, states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
  • Counties and cities (excluding jurisdictions of fewer than eight housing units)
  • American Indian reservations.

The Census Bureau will post initial response rates a final time for these entities on the Internet on April 18.

The Census Bureau needs the help of local residents to conduct Census 2000. Job opportunities include census taker positions in communities and neighborhoods and office work. A large number of part-time positions are available. For more information on census jobs in your area, call toll-free 1-888-325-7733.

The Census Bureau guarantees that the answers given on census forms are kept strictly confidential. Information collected in Census 2000 will provide local area data needed for communities to receive federal program funds and for private sector and community planning.

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