Mail in that census form, or expect a knock on the door |

Mail in that census form, or expect a knock on the door

A government worker could be knocking on your door if you don’t mail in your census form by mid-April.

As of Friday afternoon, 52 percent of Nevada County households had returned the form, the federal Census Bureau reported. That figure includes 59 percent of Grass Valley households and 56 percent of Nevada City households.

Census workers start going door-to-door between May and July to collect information from people who did not reply by mail.

That will cost taxpayers an average of $57 per household, according to the bureau.

Nevada County lags behind the rest of America but is on par with the state: Nationwide, 56 percent of 134 million households have returned the questionnaire, while 52 percent of California households have done so.

Residents in the county’s vacation homes and RV parks -which historically are hard to count – could be lowering the response rate, said Census Bureau Public Affairs Specialist Earlene Dowell.

“Since the area is a resort area, and there are lots of ‘transitory places,’ those people didn’t actually receive it in the mail,” Dowell said.

Instead, the forms are sent to park administration personnel, or residents can call the census office at (301) 763-INFO. Residents who do not turn in the questionnaire will receive a visit from a census employee.

Despite a vigorous advertising campaign, census participation rates typically fall well below 100 percent.

Nationally, 72 percent of U.S. households returned the 2000 Census questionnaire by mail.

But counting everyone is important to properly allocate government funds, so the bureau makes intrepid efforts to gather the missing information in person. Some census workers will be using airplanes and even dog sleds to reach far-flung households.

It’s pricey.

“For those who have not yet had a chance to send it back, I’d like to reiterate that it’s not too late to participate, and doing so will save a lot of taxpayer money,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said in a statement.

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail or call (530) 477-4247.

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