April 11, 2010 | The Advertiser | Original Article

2010 census drive ongoing

If you haven't returned your completed 2010 census form, do so quickly or someone may be knocking on your door soon.


Census forms are due by the end of the week, said Bill Bowen, 2010 census spokesman.

On April 19, census workers will reconcile the addresses that forms were mailed to with the addresses of forms that were returned.

"On May 1, if you haven't sent it in, we send a census employee, probably somebody who lives in your neighborhood, to knock on your door and get the information from you in person," Bowen said.

Residents in the town of Duson have a particularly low census return rate so far, according to data compiled by USA Today.

Only 21 percent of Duson residents returned their census forms so far. In the 2000 census, only 55 percent of residents returned their forms, the data show.

Mayor Susie Lagneaux was surprised the participation rate is so low and urged residents to return their census forms.

"Sometimes, there are people who think they'll get into trouble for filling it out," she said. "You won't get into trouble. That's not what it's about."

Actually, residents are legally required to complete and return the forms, Bowen said.

Census results are used to distribute $400 billion in federal funds among states, parishes and towns.

"So, it has an effect on everybody else, too," if you don't return the form, he said.

Population is used by cities to apply for Community Development Block Grant funding and other grants, said Ben Berthelot, community development director for Lafayette Consolidated Government.

Census numbers also are used to determine how many congressmen each state sends to Washington, D.C., to represent its population, Bowen said.

It's particularly important that every Louisiana resident be counted this year because the state probably lost population in the New Orleans area because of Hurricane Katrina and stands to lose a congressional seat.

The national participation rate thus far is about 64 percent.

Louisiana's participation rate thus far is about 56 percent, compared with a final rate of 65 percent in 2000.