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Census participation up for 2010

Participation in the 2010 U.S. Census already exceeds that of the 2000 Census at both the state and county levels.

As of Tuesday, 66 percent of Chilton County residents that were mailed a U.S. Census form had completed and returned their form — up from 61 percent in 2000. Meanwhile, 67 percent of Alabamians have mailed in their forms, compared to 66 percent a decade ago.

While the figures are not final, they do show that more people are making an effort to be counted.

“We’re doing fairly good in some counties,” said Crystal Bonvillian, public information specialist for the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA). “We’ve done a lot of work to get the word out there.”

The counties with the highest participation rates thus far are Shelby, Fayette, Lamar and Autauga, each with 74-percent; and Elmore County with 73 percent. Also, several counties in the Black Belt saw significant improvement.

On the bottom of the list are Bullock County at 32 percent and Perry County at 38 percent. Bullock had 49-percent participation in the 2000 Census.

Bonvillian said more people have become aware of the census through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and through television and radio ads. The Census was advertised during the Super Bowl, for example.

The U.S. Census Bureau also has an up-to-date and informative Web site, 2010census.gov.

“There’s something new on there almost every day,” Bonvillian said.

Larry Childers, the director of ADECA’s Communication and Information Division, serves as the liaison between Gov. Bob Riley and the Census Bureau by doing promotional work and providing information.

Also, the Complete Count Committee is made up of community service organizations and other groups that have made an effort to spread awareness.

“We’re pleased that our promotions seem to be helping,” Bonvillian said, adding that the final tally of participation rates will likely be available by May 1.

For more information, visit 2010census.gov or adeca.alabama.gov.