County lags in census reporting
Madison County’s return rate for the first half of the 2010 Census lags behind 2000, a deficit that could cost the county substantial amounts of federal funding.Seventy-four percent of Madison County residents have returned their census forms. In 2000, the number for the same reporting period was 76 percent.Portions of federal funding is based on population and inaccurate census counts impacts future revenue.Morgan County is ahead of the state return average, which is 70 percent. That’s higher than the 2000 rate of 66 percent.Madison County is one of 13 counties reporting return rates less than its 2000 average.The next step is for census workers to visit homes of those who didn’t return their forms. “By taking a few minutes to fill out and mail back the 2010 Census, Alabama’s residents have broken their previous participation record by a significant amount,” Gov. Bob Riley said. “When the census worker comes to your door, please participate in this important civic duty if you have not already been counted. Alabama will not receive the representation and resources it deserves unless everyone is counted.”Census population data are used to determine representation in Congress and the state legislature, for planning and economic development and to allocate more than $400 billion in federal formula grants every year. The grants help fund community services and infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, roads and bridges. U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said some 600,000 census workers would be hitting the streets this week for follow-up. They will be going door-to-door to speak with residents who did not return their questionnaires by mail.The second phase of the effort began last week as more than 600,000 census workers begin visiting households across the nation that have not returned their census questionnaires. Gov. Bob Riley said it is important that all Alabamians be included in the count.Residents can recognize a legitimate census worker by the following:• The census taker must present to the resident an ID badge with a Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date. The census taker may also be carrying a black shoulder bag bearing a Census Bureau logo.• The census taker will provide the resident, if asked, with a supervisor’s contact information and/or the local census office’s phone number.• The census taker will only ask a resident the questions that are on the 2010 Census form. The census taker will not ask for information such as a social security number, a bank account number or a credit card number.Census workers will make up to six attempts to reach residents, including leaving notifications at the door and attempting contact by phone. Residents can also complete their census forms by phone at 1-866-872-6868.