Census 2010 workers to begin making home visits

 In Community, Social Justice

Last Friday was the final day to mail back the census form. Households who did not return their forms should expect a visit by a census worker in the coming weeks, beginning in May.

According to Census.gov, as of April 19, the national participation rate is 69%. The top five participating states are Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Pennsylvania.

Among the nine counties in the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Clara County, which includes the city of San Jose, has the highest participation rate at 72%. The County of San Francisco has the lowest rate at 65%. All participation rates to date in Bay Area counties are lower than they were in 2000, but that could change after census workers make their rounds.

An undercount in your city or county could translate into a potential loss in millions of dollars for public program funding over the next decade.

According to The New York Times, some of the hardest to count urban neighborhoods might be experiencing higher return rates based on research by the Center for Urban Research. While it is too soon to tell, this could be due to unprecedented efforts to reach hard-to-count populations.

In Los Angeles County, advocates are using real time data to reach undercounted households. Using information provided by the nonprofit research group Healthy City, the California Community Foundation identified Los Angeles’ least-counted areas in the 2010 U.S. Census. “For the first time in census history, we have access to information that can really help us focus our outreach efforts,” said Antonia Hernández, president and CEO at the foundation. “We not only know who’s doing what where but we also now know where the gaps are so it’s a great match, especially given we have limited resources.”

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