Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The mail response rate

As of today, the national mail response rate for the 2010 Census has climbed to 46% from 25% over the last week (visit the map at 2010.census.gov to see how your community is doing). This is a terrific and encouraging jump, but still nowhere near the response rate we need for a representative portrait of our communities.

Last Census, in 2000, the national mail response rate was 72%. The Census is making every effort to boost the 2010 mail response rate to these levels before census takers are deployed in May to visit households in person - a costly and time-consuming undertaking. These efforts include the notification letters, in-language assistance postcards for non-English households, even replacement forms to targeted areas.

Apart from the paper campaigns, many communities and local Census offices have been holding their own "Get Out the Count" events - a March to the Mailbox. Like parades to the polls, these Marches have been making a neighborhood celebration out of doing their collective civic duty, complete with giveaways, t-shirts, noisemakers or just a lot of energy.

For those communities that haven't marched yet, the 2010 Census Bureau is coordinating a nationwide March to the Mailbox event on Saturday, April 10th, 2010. They are currently looking for volunteers to help with these activities locally.

The clock is ticking! To volunteer, get in touch with your local Census office. To promote the April 10th March to the Mailbox or your own March to the Mailbox event, check out the Census Bureau's toolkit.

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