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Census participation lags locally

Less than half of residents of El Dorado and Douglas counties have responded to the 2010 census, according to figures released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Forty seven percent of El Dorado County’s residents have returned the 2010 census forms by mail so far, just under the statewide average of 48 percent.

In Douglas County, 43 percent of residents have sent in 2010 census forms, slightly behind the state average of 44 percent.

In 2000, the final response rate in El Dorado county was 61 percent, while Douglas County participation was fourth in the nation at 68 percent.

Carson City topped the rest of Nevada in 2000 with 79 percent participation.

Mailing in the census forms was billed as a way to save taxpayer money in a Wednesday statement from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Every household that fails to send back their census form by mail must be visited by a census taker starting in May – at a significant taxpayer cost,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves in the statement. “The easiest and best way to be counted in the census is to fill out and return your form by mail.”

Every percentage point of residents who mail back census forms saves taxpayers $85 million in the cost of sending workers out to collect the information in person, according to the statement.

More than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed annually based on census data to pay for local programs and services, including schools, highways, vocational training, emergency services, hospitals and unemployment benefits.

Participation in the Census can be tracked online at: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/


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