Work underway for 2010 Census

Published 7:47 pm Monday, June 8, 2009

Chilton County has typically had a low response rate to the U.S. Census Bureau’s mailed survey, and some local citizens are taking steps to increase the response rate.

When people do not respond to the mailed survey, government census workers must go door-to-door gathering the data, making the process longer and more expensive.

In the past, Chilton County’s response rate has been about 56 percent, lower than the state average of 61 percent. In 2010, both the state and county are shooting for a 67 percent response rate.

Many people do not understand what the census is and are wary of government paperwork, so they do not respond.

Vanessa Hendrick, county administrator, is part of a committee being assembled to help address awareness for the upcoming 2010 census.

Hendrick said the awareness drive will let people know that the census is coming up and to be on the lookout.

Hendrick said they might try to put reminder stickers on things that people regularly receive, such as utility bills or bank statements.

“Just anything that is repetitive,” Hendrick said.

Hendrick said the committee wants people who are involved in organizations that have access to a lot of people to become involved.

Awareness efforts will pick up in the fall.

“They don’t want us to start any major push until September,” Hendrick said.

The theme for the awareness effort is “Be Counted.”

“If you are living in the county, they want you to be counted,” Hendrick said.

The census will take place in March 2010 and will be 10 questions, taking 5 to 10 minutes to complete.