Moore Residents Responding to Census
BY FLORENCE GILKESON
Moore County continues to outpace the state and the nation when it comes to returning the 2010 population census questionnaire.
The U.S. Census Bureau Web site reported Thursday that Moore County had a 69 percent participation rate. North Carolina had a 65 percent rate, whereas the national rate was 63 percent.
Census officials were also hastening to correct a misunderstanding about the April 1 census date.
April 1 was not a deadline for returning the questionnaires but was instead "the reference point people should use when filling out their forms," according to Anthony Jones of the regional census office in Charlotte.
In other words, the questionnaire was to list the number of people living in the home on April 1. It was not the last date on which to return the form.
Census questionnaires are still arriving throughout the month of April, but officials are encouraging residents to return the forms as soon as possible.
On May 1, the Census Bureau will launch an effort in which a census taker will visit each household that has not returned its questionnaire.
The census taker will collect the information in person. This will continue through July 10.
In addition to speeding up the operation, census officials estimate that prompt return of questionnaires would save taxpayers $1.5 billion by shortening the follow-up period.
The U.S. Constitution requires the federal government to conduct a population census at 10-year intervals.
The results are used to allocate seats in Congress and state legislatures and also to distribute federal and state funds. Participation is required by law.
This year's questionnaire is one of the shortest in history. It contains only 10 questions.
Federal law also specifies that census information must remain confidential, to be used only for statistical purposes. Census information is not turned over to law enforcement, immigration or other federal, state or local authorities.
Contact Florence Gilkeson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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