April Brings Census Push

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

So far, the percentages of compliance with returning Census forms in east Mississippi and west Alabama are not so good.

In Sumter County, Ala., less than third of residents have returned the forms. Even the 'top' counties in the area are below 50%.

Officials say they hope the numbers will move upward soon. But if you don't, expect to get a knock on your door by a Census employee.

They say the form is simple, but packs some serious money for local governments.

"Our lives are impacted on a daily basis with census numbers. Each year over $400 billion is sent out into local towns, communities, for varies things that we need," said Diann Chapman, partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau in Meridian.

And now that we have hit the Census Day mark, April 1, officials say local residents should either be in the process of filling out their form or expecting it to arrive in the mail soon.

"Ten questions. There are no long forms," said Chapman. "It takes about ten minutes to fill in and you live with the information for ten years."

Because the results play such a large role in what goes on in our communities for the next ten years, the Census Bureau is working to make sure it stays on our minds.

If you haven't received your survey by April 12, you're are asked to call a toll-free help line to have one sent your way.

Then in May, census workers will be walking neighborhoods, visiting residents who didn't return their form by mail.

One reason for low participation is that some may be concerned about giving out information.

"You are protected by law," Chapman said. "No other branch of the government can have access to the information. And the information is held confidential for 72 years. And I always say, after 72 years, who cares?"


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