Just over 72 percent of U.S. households mailed back their 2010 Census forms – matching the 2000 mail back rate.
The U.S. Census Bureau will not release official numbers until this fall after census workers verify the occupancy status of all households which did not return a census form.
“This is a significant achievement; the nation has stepped up to the challenge of participating in this once-a-decade civic event,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. “We knew the job would be more difficult in 2010 than in 2000, yet the nation responded tremendously.”
According to the Census Bureau, the numbers are encouraging since the past decade has shown a trend toward declining survey participation due in part to a more diverse population, a difficult economic environment and a growing distrust of government.
With the end of the mail in census period, 635,000 census workers will begin going door to door this weekend to collect census information.
Twenty-eight states met or exceeded their 2000 Census rates and 11 more were within one point of matching their rates. Numerous cities and counties also matched or exceeded their rates.
Wisconsin had the highest mail participation rate with 81 percent of households returning their census forms. Other states with high mail rate participation include Minnesota (80 percent), Iowa (78 percent) and Indiana (78percent). North Carolina and South Carolina achieved the greatest percentage point increase among all states, both increasing by eight percentage points.
The rates for all states, counties, cities, towns and neighborhoods are on the Census Bureau’s interactive mail participation rate map at http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map.
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 is 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.