My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Posts Tagged ‘response rate’

Mississippi feels that the Census Bureau “dropped the ball” on the 2010 headcount

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Here’s the article.

Census Bureau Press Release: Door-to-Door Visits Begin

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Census Takers to Follow Up with About 48 Million Households Nationwide

WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — About 635,000 2010 Census takers across the nation begin going door to door tomorrow to follow up with households that either didn’t mail back their form or didn’t receive one. An estimated 48 million addresses will be visited through July 10.


“America’s had a very successful first half of the 2010 Census, where more than 72 percent of the nation’s households mailed back their census forms,” U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves said. “But achieving a complete and accurate census requires us to now go door to door to count all the remaining households we’ve not heard back from.”

If a 2010 Census worker knocks on your door, here are some ways to verify that person is a legitimate census taker:

  • The census taker must present an ID badge that contains a Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date.  The census taker may also be carrying a black canvass bag with a Census Bureau logo.
  • The census taker will provide you with supervisor contact information and/or the local census office phone number for verification, if asked.
  • The census taker will only ask you the questions that appear on the 2010 Census form.
  • Official Census Bureau “Participation Rate” Stats/Trends/Data Available Here

    Thursday, April 29th, 2010

    Check out this slideshow depicting recent data/trends that was shown at yesterday’s Census Bureau press conference (transcript of the press conference coming here ASAP).

    Ed O’Keefe reports on Census Bureau’s final stats on mailback “participation” rates

    Thursday, April 29th, 2010

    H/t to Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post:

    72% of households responded to 2010 Census

    Take a gander at the documents Groves shared with reporters at his announcement earlier today:

    The 2010 Census response rate matched returns for the 2000 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday.

    Seventy-two percent of American households returned questionnaires by last week and 28 states had higher response rates than 10 years ago. Seven of the 10 most populous counties matched their 2000 response rates as did eight of the 10 most populous cities, the Census Bureau said.

    Census Director Robert Groves estimated that between 46 million and 49 million households did not return questionnaires. Temporary census takers hired by the agency will hit the streets starting this week and will visit those addresses up to six times to get answers. The agency will further outline those plans at a news conference Monday.

    Groves said he anticipates critics will question why this year’s results only matched the 2000 response rates despite a multimillion-dollar advertising and outreach campaign, but he called this year’s results “unbelievable” because survey response rates have dropped significantly in the past decade.

    Socioeconomic concerns rather than race or ethnicity appeared to drive lower response rates, Groves said. Less-educated, lower-income households appeared to respond less. The nation’s foreclosure crisis also contributed to the lower rates, he said.

    The total cost of 2010 Census operations — budgeted for about $14 billion — will be known once officials get a complete tally of households that did not respond, Groves said.

    Press Release: Census Bureau to Announce Final 2010 Census Mail Participation Rates

    Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

    What: As the U.S. Census Bureau prepares for the door-to-door follow-up phase of the 2010 Census, Director Robert Groves will announce how well America responded by mail to the once-a-decade census. Groves will discuss how the mail participation rates compare geographically as well as by demographic characteristics, such as home ownership, income and language spoken.

    When: Wednesday, April 28, 1 – 2 p.m. (EDT)

    Who: Robert M. Groves, director, U.S. Census Bureau

    Where: National Press Club, 13th floor

    Holeman Lounge

    529 14th Street, NW

    Washington, DC 20045

    Members of the media may also participate by telephone. (Please dial-in early to allow time for the operator to place you in the call.)

    Dial-in number: 888-603-8938

    Passcode: 2010 CENSUS

    West Virginia: Addresses Skewing Census

    Friday, April 23rd, 2010

    The following report comes from the Charleston Daily Mail:

    by Billy Wolfe
    Daily Mail staff

    CHARLESTON, W.Va.–Census workers in West Virginia will make more door-to-door visits this year than officials initially thought because of confusion resulting from the statewide addressing and mapping project.

    The new system was meant to standardize rural addresses by assigning a physical street address to every home in the state. The project is a result of post-Sept. 11, 2001 guidelines requiring better security and emergency response.

    But while the new system assigned an address to every home, it didn’t put a mailbox in front of each residence. Many residents who have a new physical street address under the system still get their mail at a post office box.

    But in many cases, the U.S. Census Bureau used those new addresses to mail out census forms.

    That resulted in some census forms being sent to non-existent mailboxes. Postal carriers would then discard those forms as undeliverable mail.

    Those addresses were then listed as “non response,” meaning a census worker will have to get the information in person at a later date.

    “What I guess was not fully anticipated was how (the addressing and mapping project) would affect the census,” said Anthony Galante, manager of the Charleston census office.

    “There has been some confusion where it looks like we have addresses, but there is no mail delivery,” he said. “It’s all going to fall into the no response follow-up portion.”

    He doesn’t know how many people failed to get their census form as a result of the address changes, but said his office has received “a great deal” of complaints from Roane and Wayne counties.

    The confusion might be one reason why West Virginia is lagging behind the national average for mail participation in the 2010 census.

    As of Thursday, West Virginia was showing a 63 percent participation rate for mailing back the forms. The national average was 71 percent.

    All of West Virginia’s bordering states were boasting higher mail participation rates than the Mountain State.

    Hipsters respond: Don’t blame us for low response rates…blame the Hassidic Jews!

    Friday, April 16th, 2010

    In response to my postings about hipsters failing to complete their census forms in Brooklyn, a hipster blog has refuted these claims and has instead shifted the blame for low response rates to the neighboring Hasidic Jewish community — yet also notes that the 2010 Census forms were mailed out during the week-long Passover holiday:

    Stop Blaming Hipsters for the Census

    Census copy.jpg

    Hey NPR, next time you run a piece entitled “New York’s Hipsters Too Cool for the Census,” you should maybe do more than talk to three people in a record store?

    Sure, as Brian pointed out last week, Williamsburg’s response rates are super low. But check out the actual data available on the Census 2010 Map. The Census return rates for the “hip” parts of Williamsburg are about on par with those for the rest of the city. It’s the Hassidic areas that have a super low rate of return (see screenshot above). Which the NPR story mentioned, kind of, at the end of the piece, after focusing on those crazy kids with their “wacky bikes” and “ironic mustaches.”

    So yeah, some of us are lazy assholes who haven’t mailed their forms in yet (like, ok, I *might* have just mailed mine in this morning). But come on – we’re no more lazy than the rest of this city.

    UPDATE: Aaron Short, over at A Short Story blog, points out that one reason the Hassidic return rate might be so low is because the forms were mailed out during… Passover.

    So what we’re saying is that it’s nobody’s fault, really.

    Too cool for the census

    Thursday, April 15th, 2010

    I’ve already posted about NPR’s survey of hipsters who don’t complete their 2010 Census forms in Brooklyn, but this piece from the Alaska Dispatch (a citizen journalism site)  is too good not to republish here:

    By Maia Nolan

    Much has been made lately of Alaska’s lackluster rate of participation in the 2010 census. But it turns out there’s at least one demographic that’s significantly worse than Alaskans: Hipsters.

    In the capital city of hipsterdom, the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., census participation is right around 30 percent — more than 20 percent below Alaska’s current statewide rate — according to a recent NPR report. The reason? Um, like, whatever.

    “I guess it’s laziness and like, what’s the point?” a 20-something record store employee, Nate Stark, told NPR’s Scott Simon. “When it comes down to it, nobody wants to fill out like another form that’s just like getting sent to your house that really relatively has nothing to do with your life.”

    Another Williamsburger, Jamie Lilly, told Simon:

    “You know, on a personal note, maybe some people, they figure what’s the point to be counted if you don’t count for much anyway? If we don’t count, why be counted?”

    Way deep.

    Meanwhile, my fellow Alaskans, I think we’re missing an important opportunity to polish up our image. Outsiders might look at our bottom-of-the-barrel census participation rate and chalk it up to our being backwoods rednecks who can’t dig out of our mountainside snowdrifts in time to brave polar bear attacks and coastal erosion as we hike to the post office to get our census forms in the mail, or to our resentment of gummint intrusion into our gun-toting, aerial-wolf-hunting, pot-decriminalizing libertarian lifestyles. All of which just contributes to the perpetuation of the image of Alaska as a frozen wilderness outpost where people talk with Minnesota accents and only pick up a newspaper to swat away Russian spy planes rearing their heads into our airspace.

    It’s time to take a clue from our retro-glasses-and-ironic-T-shirt-wearing brethren in the ‘burg. Clearly the hipsters are on to something here: We just need to come up with a really existential-sounding reason for the state’s low return rate. Like, what’s the point? We’re not too remote to participate in the census; we’re just too cool.

    And if you think it’s ridiculous to imply that Alaskans have anything to learn from hipsters, keep in mind that hipsters have been taking style clues from Alaskans for years. We’ve always known that plaid shirts, bedhead and dive bars are cool; it just took them a while to catch on.

    65% and counting…

    Saturday, April 10th, 2010

    Displayed data as of: Saturday, April 10, 2010 -

    2010 Census National Participation Rate: 65%

    Census Bureau Press Release: Second Round of Census Forms Mailed to 40 Million Households…Targeted Mailing Reminds Residents There is Still Time to Return Questionnaires

    Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

    The following is a Census Bureau press release that just came into the inbox:

    To reduce the estimated $2.7 billion cost of following up with
    households that fail to mail back their 2010 Census questionnaires, the
    U.S. Census Bureau has begun mailing second forms to approximately 40
    million housing units in areas that had below-average response rates in the
    2000 Census.

    “Census Bureau and a multitude of private sector research shows that
    sending a replacement questionnaire to households can significantly
    increase response rates in the end,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves
    said. “We estimate that the second mailing could increase America’s mail
    participation rate in the 2010 Census by 7 to 10 percentage points, and
    doing so would save taxpayers more than $500 million.”

    According to the Census Bureau, every percentage point increase in the
    national participation rate by mail saves about $85 million. It costs the
    government just 42 cents in a postage paid envelope to get a questionnaire
    back in the mail, but it costs taxpayers an average of $57 to count a
    household that fails to mail it back.

    Second questionnaires were mailed last week to every housing unit in
    areas that had a mail response rate of 59 percent or less in 2000, or about
    24.7 million households. The questionnaires were sent to all households,
    regardless of whether they had already returned their 2010 Census form.

    In areas that had response rates between 59 and 67 percent — below the
    national average of 67 percent — replacement forms will be sent only to
    households that have not yet mailed back their completed 2010 Census form.
    These 15 million households will receive a second form April 6-10.

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

    “We understand that people lead busy lives and may not have gotten
    around to sending back their forms yet,” Groves said. “The replacement form
    gives them a second chance to get counted and help ensure that their
    community gets its fair share of political representation and federal funds
    over the next 10 years.”

    Currently, the national mail participation rate is 60 percent, with some
    of the lowest rates in Alaska, California, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
    The latest national and local participation rates can be viewed at

    Mail Participation Rate Climbs to 46%

    Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

    According to the Census Bureau, as of 4pm EST yesterday, the mail participation rate was 46%. We await the results as to what it will be at 4pm today…

    Which states need to improve their Census response rates?

    Sunday, December 27th, 2009

    Census forms won’t reach homes until March, but the Census Bureau is already publicizing a three-stage advertising campaign aimed, in part, at encouraging people to fill out their forms and cooperate with Census workers.

    So, in which states should the Census Bureau concentrate its efforts?

    A look at the response rates from the 2000 and 1990 censuses show that, in general, the same states had low numbers in both years.

    Alaska had the lowest response rate in both 2000 (56 percent) and 1999 (52 percent). South Carolina had the next-worse response rate in both years, with 58 percent in 2000 and 56 percent in 1990. (Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, had a response rate of just 53-percent in 2000).

    At the other end, Iowa had the best response rate in 2000 with 76 percent, followed by Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin at 75 percent. In 1990, Wisconsin topped the list with a 77-percent response rate. Iowa and Minnesota tied for second-best at 76 percent.

    The national response rate was 67 percent in 2000 and 65 in 1990. The Census Bureau is predicting a drop in the response rate, to 64 percent, for the 2010 Census.

    More areas with low response rates include Washington, D.C. (60 percent in 2000, 56 percent in 1990), Louisiana (60 percent in 2000, 58 percent in 1990), Hawaii (60 percent in 2000, 62 percent in 1990), Vermont (60 percent in 2000, 64 percent in 1990) and Maine (61 percent in 2000, 58 percent in 1990).

    Other states with high response rates were South Dakota (74 percent in both years), Virginia (72 percent in 2000, 70 percent in 1990), North Dakota (72 percent both years) and Ohio (72 percent in 2000, 75 percent in 1990).

    This county-by-county map shows a more detailed breakdown of response rates from the 2000 Census.

    Some states are already striving to improve their performance from the last count. The Herald in Rock Hill, S.C., reported that the state will have heavier marketing and outreach efforts in the 10 or 12 counties that had the lowest response rates in 2000.

    “Some people just don’t understand the importance of the census,” Michael Sponhour, spokesman for the State Budget and Control Board, told the paper.

    Census predicts fall in response rate

    Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

    H/t to USA Today for the following:

    Turbulent political and economic times roiling the nation are expected to diminish initial participation by households in next year’s Census despite a $326 million marketing blitz that far outspends previous Census campaigns.

    Mounting mistrust of government, rising identity theft and record numbers of foreclosures could discourage people from mailing back Census forms next year, according to the Census Bureau.

    A Census analysis shows that about 64% of households are likely to mail in their forms without additional prodding from Census workers — down from 67% in 2000. That could mean 4 million more doors to knock on.

    CENSUS STRATEGY: Reaching hard-to-count residents

    CENSUS NUMBERS: Interactive look at 2008 data

    State-by-state breakdown: How was the response rate in your state?

    Friday, October 2nd, 2009

    The following is a list of the percentages of U.S. households that returned census questionnaires in 2000 by mail or submitted information on another form, over the phone or by Internet (The nation averaged a 67 percent response rate):

    - Alabama: 61 percent

    - Alaska: 56 percent

    - Arizona: 63 percent

    - Arkansas: 64 percent

    - California: 70 percent

    - Colorado: 70 percent

    - Connecticut: 70 percent

    - Delaware: 63 percent

    - District of Columbia: 60 percent

    - Florida: 63 percent

    - Georgia: 65 percent 

    - Hawaii: 60 percent

    - Idaho: 67 percent

    - Illinois: 69 percent

    - Indiana: 69 percent

    - Iowa: 76 percent

    - Kansas: 71 percent

    - Kentucky: 66 percent

    - Louisiana: 60 percent

    - Maine: 61 percent

    - Maryland: 69 percent

    - Massachusetts: 69 percent

    - Michigan: 71 percent

    - Minnesota: 75 percent

    - Mississippi: 63 percent

    - Missouri: 69 percent

    - Montana: 68 percent

    - Nebraska: 75 percent

    - Nevada: 66 percent

    - New Hampshire: 67 percent

    - New Jersey: 68 percent

    - New Mexico: 62 percent

    - New York: 63 percent

    - North Carolina: 64 percent

    - North Dakota: 72 percent

    - Ohio: 72 percent

    - Oklahoma: 64 percent

    - Oregon: 68 percent

    - Pennsylvania: 70 percent

    - Rhode Island: 67 percent

    - South Carolina: 58 percent

    - South Dakota: 74 percent

    - Tennessee: 65 percent

    - Texas: 64 percent

    - Utah: 68 percent

    - Vermont 60 percent

    - Virginia: 72 percent

    - Washington: 66 percent

    - West Virginia: 64 percent

    - Wisconsin: 75 percent

    - Wyoming: 66 percent

    Source: U.S. Census Bureau

    Will Iowa Be The Best In The Nation In 2010?

    Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

    A quick piece of info from Radio Iowa:

    Last year’s floods could impact 2010 Census in Iowa

    by Dar Danielson on September 14, 2009

    Beth Henning of the State Data Center is the Iowa liaison for the U.S. Census Bureau says Iowans’ civic-mindedness played a role in the good return rate, along with a high rate of home ownership. But she says this time it’s going to be hard to count everyone who lost their homes in the floods.

    Iowa had the best rate in the country for returning census forms in the 2000 Census, but last year’s floods and other factors may make it hard to repeat that good performance in the upcoming 2010 count. Seventy-six-percent of Iowans returned their forms last time, compared with 67% nationwide.