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2010 U.S. Census Update
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The U.S Census Bureau has completed the first half of its 2010 campaign. So far, 72% of households nationwide have returned their forms.  It's the same participation rate achieved for the 2000 Census. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports.

Connecticut's participation rate was higher than the national response with 74% of households that mailed back their forms.

U.S Census Bureau Director, Robert Groves says one of the reasons the participation rate stayed high was because of the short form that the Census adopted which takes about 10 minutes to fill out. He says Census Bureau efforts now shift towards training Census workers or enumerators who will begin knocking on doors of households that haven't responded.

The Census also targeted hard to count areas that had low participation rates in 2000.  It was a new approach that involved partnering with local communities to increase awareness.

Census partnership specialist in Waterbury, Sheila Torres says that kind of partnership helped boost mail-back rates in three hard to count areas or tracts in Danbury--She says one tract that includes many spanish and portuguese speaking residents saw a huge jump--from 49 percent mail response in 2000 to 62 percent today

Torres says the Census Bureau also sent out questionaires a second time to neighborhoods with low response rates which helped improve mail returns

Nationwide, 1/3 of households did not mail back their forms. The federal government says it costs taxpayers $1.5 billion to send out census workers to visit these homes up to six times to get a response.

For WNPR, I'm Lucy Nalpathanchil.