Alden has best census participation rate

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, April 7, 2010

(2010 participation rates were updated Tuesday.)

City/county 2010 2000

Freeborn County 74 83

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Albert Lea 74 85

Alden 78 86

Clarks Grove 67 75
Conger 67 84

Emmons 71 84

Freeborn 69 68

Geneva 71 88

Glenville 76 80a

Hartland 68 87

Hayward 70 81

Hollandale 76 79

Manchester 65 82

Myrtle 52 70

Twin Lakes 74 68

U.S. Census participation rates of area counties

County 2010 2000

Blue Earth County 69 79

Faribault County 73 82

Freeborn County 74 83

Mower County 72 83

Steele County 75 81

Waseca County 75 82

Winnebago County 69 82

Worth County 72 82

— Information from U.S. Census Bureau Web site

Almost 75 percent of Freeborn County households have returned the 2010 U.S. Census questionnaire as of Tuesday morning, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Web site tracking participation rates across the country.

Thus far, Alden has the highest participation rate in the county at 78 percent, followed by Glenville and Hollandale, both at 76 percent.

In Albert Lea, 74 percent households have also returned the form.

Mailed to households in the middle of March, the census is required by the U.S. Constitution to be conducted every 10 years.

It determines representation in Congress and is also used to allocate federal and state funding and to redraw state legislative boundaries.

In an attempt to increase response rates, the Census Bureau last week began mailing its second round of forms to 40 million households accross the country.

Second questionnaires were mailed to every household in communities that had a response rate of 59 percent or less in the 2000 census. Households in communities with a response rate of 59 to 67 percent in 2000 who have not yet returned their forms will also receive a second copy, according to the Census Web site.

“The Census Bureau and I would like to thank everyone who has already taken 10 minutes to fill out and mail back the 2010 Census,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves in a news release. “For those who have not yet had a chance to send it back, I’d like to reiterate that it’s not too late to participate and doing so will save a lot of taxpayer money.”

The form asks four general questions about every household, such as whether they rent or own their home, and then six questions about each person within the household, including name, sex, age, date of birth and race.

The head of household should complete the form on behalf of every person living in the residence, including relatives and nonrelatives. The form should take about 10 minutes to fill out, depending on the number of people in the home.

Households have until mid-April to mail back their forms before census takers begin going door to door to residences that failed to respond.

During a visit from a census taker, people should first ask to see the census taker’s ID. All census workers carry official government badges marked with just their name; they may also have a U.S. Census Bureau bag.

According to the Census Web site, the current national mail participation rate is 60 percent, with some of the lowest rates in Alaska, California, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

Minnesota is one of the top five states in the country thus far for participation in the census.

As of Tuesday morning, Wisconsin was the highest at 72 percent, followed by Iowa at 70 percent, Minnesota at 69 percent, Indiana at 68 percent and South Dakota at 67 percent.

People who need help locally filling out the census can go to City Hall in Albert Lea, where there is an authorized census questionnaire assistance center. Help is available on Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 4 p.m. in Room 109.