MONTGOMERY— Alabamians responded to the 2010 Census in greater numbers than in the prior census, making the state fifth in the nation for improvement in mail participation.
Completed census forms were mailed in by 70 percent of Alabama households, a 6 percent increase over response to the 2000 Census.
U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said Wednesday that his agency considered this first phase of the 2010 Census a success even though participation nationally showed no improvement over the 2000 total.
Matching the 2000 participation rate was a significant accomplishment "given the hard economic times, with high rates of unemployment and foreclosure, as well as widespread discontent with government," Groves said.
Saturday begins the second phase of the effort as more than 600,000 census workers begin visiting households across the nation that have not returned their census questionnaires. Gov. Bob Riley said it is important that all Alabamians be included in the count.
"When the census worker comes to your door, please participate in this important civic duty if you have not already been counted," Riley said. "Alabama will not receive the representation and resources it deserves unless everyone is counted."
Census population data are used to determine representation in Congress and the state legislature, for planning and economic development and to allocate over $400 billion in federal formula grants every year. The grants help fund community services and infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, roads and bridges.
Residents can recognize a legitimate census worker by the following:
- The census taker must present to the resident an ID badge with a Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date. The census taker may also be carrying a black shoulder bag bearing a Census Bureau logo.
- The census taker will provide the resident, if asked, with a supervisor's contact information and/or the local census office's phone number.
- The census taker will only ask a resident the questions that are on the 2010 Census form. The census taker will not ask for information such as a social security number, a bank account number or a credit card number.
Census workers will make up to six attempts to reach residents, including leaving notifications at the door and attempting contact by phone.