Today is Census Day when forms are due back to the federal government. Nationwide, 50% of households have responded so far. However, the U.S Census Bureaus says parts of Connecticut are lagging behind the rest of the country.
A majority of residents in Connecticut's biggest cities are not mailing back their census forms. The Census Bureau reports that only 35% of households in both New Haven and Bridgeport have returned their 2010 Census. Only 32% have responded in Hartford. Census officials say low participation rates are the reason urban areas are often under-counted.
The manager of the local census office in Hartford, Russel Hicks says there are many reasons why people choose not to fill out their forms. Hicks says one of the reasons is distrust over how the government will use the information.
"There are a lot of people here that are undocumented or here illegally and they want to stay under the radar, and they're afraid to answer the forms. Particularly these countries where the ladies and gentlemen are coming from, they avoid government contact."
Hicks says another challenge for census workers in Hartford is communicating with all of the city's residents, he estimates almost 70 different languages are spoken here.
The Census Bureau stresses the information collected remains confidential and is only used for statistical purposes.
The data helps the government allocate federal funds for services and re-apportion Congressional districts.
Homes that don't return their forms will be visited by Census workers in May--In Hartford, up to 1,500 workers will knock on doors. These follow-up visits cost the government millions of dollars.
For WNPR, I'm Lucy Nalpathanchil.