According to Edward Davis, Census partnership coordinator for the Atlanta region, the forms will be mailed out March 15. The return date is April 1, Census Day.
Davis emphasized the importance of residents mailing their Census forms back in.
“When people do that, they are saving taxpayer dollars (by) lessening the workload of the nonresponsive follow-up campaign,” he explained.
“It costs us just 42 cents in a postage paid envelope when households mail back their 2010 Census forms,” Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves said. “The Census Bureau will spend about $25 per person if we have to go out and knock on the doors of households that don't mail them back.”
The Census Bureau saves about $85 million in operational costs for every percentage point increase in the national mail response rate, according to 2010.census.gov.
“We have an awesome task,” Davis said of the Census Bureau’s head-counting mission. Local governments, faith based organizations, businesses and media outlets have helped make the project a little more manageable, he said.
Census “be counted” sites will be announced in April, he said, and those who do not receive forms in the mail can go to these sites to pick up the paperwork.
Some rural residents without mailboxes may receive a visit from a Census worker.
About 56,000 census workers began hand delivering 2010 Census questionnaires to roughly 12 million addresses across the nation, March 1, according to the Web site, mostly in rural areas where people do not receive mail at the same location as their residence. People these areas may find a form packaged in a plastic bag at their home's main door.
Filling in the birth date portion of the form correctly is essential, Davis said, because it “helps planners determine whether or not the future population is younger.” A gauge of how the general population is aging will allow government entities to plan for things like new elementary schools or accommodations for senior citizens, he said.
Starting March 22, visitors to the 2010 Census Web site will be able to track how well their communities are participating in the census on a daily basis, according to the Census Bureau. Communities will even be able to embed a Web-based tool on their own Web sites that automatically updates the daily rates. An interactive Google-based map is now online that allows visitors to find out how well their communities did in the 2000 Census.
All census responses are confidential. Answers are protected by law and cannot be shared with anyone.
What is the Census?
The 2010 Census is a count of everyone living in the United States and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Census data are used to apportion congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to tribal, state and local governments each year and to make decisions about what community services to provide. The 2010 Census form will be one of the shortest in U.S. history, consisting of 10 questions, taking about 10 minutes to complete. Strict confidentiality laws protect the respondents and the information they provide.