April 5, 2010 | Cincinnati Enquirer | Original Article

No Census form? You're not alone

The U.S. Census Bureau mailed out census forms more than two weeks ago, but many households across Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky still haven't gotten one - even as the April 1 target date for completing the form has passed.

No one knows how many households didn't receive forms, but local census officials say they've identified problems with two main groups of people:

• Those who moved into new houses built after the Census Bureau put together its address list last year. Residents of new subdivisions in Colerain Township, Hamilton Township, Milford and Independence, Ky., have told The Enquirer they didn't receive forms - and neither have their neighbors.

• Those in small towns - places like Addyston, North Bend, Hooven, Seven Mile and College Corner - who don't get regular mail delivery but instead have post office boxes. In those places, census employees dropped the forms off at each household, but many residents have complained that they never got one.

Local Census officials say they're investigating the issues.

"It's been escalated to our Geography Department," said Linda McCoy, manager of the Cincinnati Suburban census office in West Chester, which is responsible for Butler, Warren, Clermont and most of Hamilton counties. "That's not right that they didn't get the forms."

Addyston, an Ohio River village of 1,010 people, doesn't get regular mail delivery. Instead, residents go to the local post office - ZIP Code 45001 - to pick up their mail.

But the Census Bureau won't send forms to a post office box, so census workers were supposed to personally hand-deliver them.

Mayor Dan Pillow said it appears the census missed a significant portion of the village. But it's also possible that residents simply missed the census package on their doorsteps, he said.

"That's happened to me on several occasions. I have a front door that faces Main Street, but I go through a side door and I may go months before I check my front door," Pillow said.

On Friday, he used the village's robo-calling system to put out the word to come to the village hall to pick up census forms.

In Independence, Ky., Kelly Rodamer moved into her new home last September. She's been waiting for a form but hasn't gotten one - and neither has anyone else on her street, which also abuts Boone County.

"It's kind of exciting. It's the first time I'm counting myself. My parents had always done it in the past," said Rodamer, 24, a graduate student in marketing at Northern Kentucky University.

"I'm a little disappointed. It's not like we moved in last week," she said.

A year ago, in an operation known as "address canvassing," census workers were supposed to hit every street to compile a list of every housing unit in the country.

After that, the bureau was supposed to get updated building permits from local officials to spot new homes - at least through last November. That hasn't happened in some neighborhoods, census officials said.

"There's always a few places that don't get questionnaires. When you mail out 120 million pieces of mail, you're going to get some error," said Kim D. Hunter, a spokesman for the Census Bureau's Detroit region. "As soon as we investigate it, we'll find out what the deal is."

Rodamer said she's most disappointed with the response her husband got from the Census Bureau. They told him to call back after April 12.

Census officials say those who haven't received a form can pick one up from a local library, community center or other designated location.

"I'm not going to lie - that's not going to happen," said Lauren Obszarski, a stay-at-home mother of two who moved into a new Colerain Township home seven months ago and didn't get a form.

The other option is to call the Census Bureau after April 12 and request a new form be mailed: 866-872-6868.

While April 1 was the target deadline for completing the form, the Census Bureau will accept the mail-in forms through the end of April. After that, the government will send field workers out to households to collect the information.