April 10, 2010 | Stamford Advocate | Original Article

Volunteers hype up 2010 census

STAMFORD -- Dozens of local politicians and high school volunteers gathered Saturday morning in the lobby of the Stamford Government Center to rally around a simple, yet often overlooked, imperative: Send in your census forms by Friday.

Julia Wade, the chair of the city's Complete Count Committee, a group formed to encourage local households to mail in their paperwork for the 2010 federal census, spoke into a microphone to motivate the volunteers and explained the different return rates of different Stamford neighborhoods. Organizers called the event "March to the Mailbox," and the rally at the government center on Washington Boulevard was one of several being held nationwide Saturday.

Wade said some neighborhoods -- in particular, Waterside, the South End, and the East and West sides -- have return rates of about 50 percent, well below other parts of the city. If households don't mail back the census forms by Friday, census workers may visit them personally.

"As you can see, we have our work cut out for us," Wade said.

State and city legislators took turns with the microphone to emphasize the importance of giving the federal government an accurate count of population demographics by filling out census paperwork.

Fairfield County alone stands to gain $1.6 billion in federal funding based on data provided by census numbers, the Complete Count Committee said in a statement. The money could benefit schools, hospitals and public works projects.