Census home visits begin today

Published 11:23 pm Friday, April 30, 2010

Census workers have begun visiting the homes of residents who failed to return their questionnaires.

According to Crystal Bonvillian of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, the campaign to help ensure an accurate census count started today.

All census takers carry an official badge and a census shoulder bag, which is clearly marked. The census taker will show their ID as well as an information sheet about confidentiality.

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They will then conduct a census survey that Bonvillian said shouldn’t be too time consuming.

“It shouldn’t take more than about 10 minutes,” she said.

If no one is home the census taker will leave a notice of visit, inviting the resident to conduct the census over the phone.

The process is meant to get a survey of people who haven’t yet filled out their questionnaires, but at least some Pike County residents never even got the chance to do so.

Louie Wilson lives near Springhill and he said he never received a questionnaire.

“Not only me, but several of my family members didn’t get one either,” he said.

“There have been several people reporting not receiving a form.” Bonvillian said.

According to U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves, there are several reasons for this.

“People who did not get a form are concerned,” Groves said.

“Let me point out that there are number of reasons why you might not have gotten a form. You might live in one of those areas where census takers are counting people at their homes. You might have a P. O. Box. You might live in a newly built home that didn’t get into our address list.”

“But let me stress again that the census is not over. We are at halftime.”

Bonvillian said all those people should expect a visit from a census worker in the near future.

The campaign is scheduled to continue through May, June and early July.

The census bureau has reported a 72 percent mail participation rate, which is an improvement over the 2000 Census, which reversed a three-decade decline.

“This achievement puts us on track to what we hope will be America’s best census ever,” Groves said.