Summit County: One day left to mail census back
summit daily news
SUMMIT COUNTY – The U.S. Constitution requires that all U.S. residents be counted in the decennial census, and the Census Bureau is now gearing up to ensure that everyone complies.
Summit County’s census participation – now at 27 percent – is still lagging far behind the state rate of 66 percent. But local residents can mail their census forms to the federal government by Friday to avoid future visits by census workers.
“If people can get their forms in by Friday, their chances of being visited by a follow-up worker are greatly reduced,” said 2010 Census spokeswoman Deborah Cameron.
Paid census workers will make contact with a non-participating home as many as six times. According to the Census Bureau, for every 1 percent increase in mail response in 2010, the federal government will save $85 million that would otherwise have to be spent on door-to-door follow-up with households that didn’t respond.
“Remember that the U.S. Constitution requires that we count everyone,” U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said. “That means we must visit every household that doesn’t mail back a form. It’s much easier for all of us – and much less expensive for taxpayers – if we get your census responses by mail.”
According to Cameron, second homes likely factor into the low participation rates in Colorado resort communities like Summit, Eagle, Pitkin and San Miguel counties. The census instructs individuals to fill out their census forms at their primary residences, but the Census Bureau delivers forms to all residential units. Census workers don’t know whether a given residence is considered a primary home or a vacation home by its owners, Cameron said.
Delivery of census questionnaires also tends to be more difficult in mountain communities than in urban and suburban areas.
“We go out by snowshoe, ATV and horseback,” Cameron said. “We do everything we can to get everywhere we need to go. We couldn’t get to one house, because there was a moose standing in the driveway all day.”
Anyone who hasn’t received a census form, or has lost or damaged the one that did arrive, can call the Census Bureau to receive a new form. Residents can request that census forms be mailed to P.O. boxes.
“Your cooperation will help bring money back to your community. When you fill out the census, you’re bringing in $880 every year for 10 years,” Cameron said.
Census workers will begin follow-up visits in May. They will have ID badges and carry 2010 Census tote bags. Census workers will not ask for money and will not ask to enter a home. Some census workers will carry questionnaires and surveys that ask for information not covered by the 10-question census, but no representative of the U.S. Census Bureau will ask for personal financial information, such as bank account numbers. All information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau is confidential, and no identifying information is allowed to be shared with other government agencies or with private entities.
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