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Census Bureau Launches 2010 Census Advertising Campaign

Communications Effort Seeks to Boost Nation's Mail-Back Participation Rates

     WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Census Bureau today unveiled its national advertising campaign for the 2010 Census, which seeks to boost the national mail-back participation rate by increasing awareness and educating the public about the importance of participating in the once-a-decade headcount.

     The $133 million campaign builds on the success of the 2000 Census efforts, where the Census Bureau used paid advertising for the first time and reversed a three-decade decline in public response rates by mail.

     “One of the primary goals for our advertising and outreach campaign is to increase the number of people who mail back their forms when they arrive in March,” Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves said during a presentation at the Ronald Reagan Building. “For each percentage point increase in the national mail-back response rate, the Census Bureau saves taxpayers about $80 to $90 million in costs associated with having to send census takers to nonresponding households for in-person interviews.”

     The four-month 2010 Census advertising campaign will officially start across television, radio, print, outdoor and the Internet on Jan. 18., but the first television spot will debut the night before on NBC's broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards.

     With ads produced in an unprecedented 28 languages, the 2010 Census advertising campaign will reach the average person 42 times with messages around the importance of participating in the census. More than half of the budgeted advertising will be targeted to media consumed by minority and ethnic audiences.

     From Super Bowl XLIV and the 2010 Winter Olympics, to popular prime-time shows, the 2010 Census advertising campaign represents the most extensive and diverse outreach campaign in U.S. history. The advertising rollout also included updates on other outreach efforts, such as the Census in Schools program, “Portrait of America” Road Tour, and the national and regional partnership programs targeted at reaching hard-to-count populations.

     Other key elements of the 2010 Census Integrated Communications Campaign include:

  • A national road tour with 13 vehicles traveling to key events across the country, such as NASCAR races, the Super Bowl, parades and more.
  • A 2010 Census Web site, located at 2010census.gov with in-depth information on the 2010 Census, plus a social media component.
  • “Teach Census” Week in schools nationwide in February, part of the Census in Schools program.
  • Public service announcements airing nationwide.
  • The “Take 10” program to encourage every resident to take 10 minutes to fill out their form in an effort to increase mail response rates in March and April.
  • Outreach activities launched by national and local corporate, foundation, government and nonprofit organizations.

     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 will be 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.

     “The 2010 Census is important, easy and safe,” Groves said. “When the forms begin arriving in March, we urge everyone to take a few minutes to fill them out and mail them back.”

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: May 19, 2016