Tuesday, May 4, 2010 • Census Bureau begins household visits

Publisher’s note: This story originally appeared in the Tuesday, May 4, 2010, edition of the Lassen County Times.

Census takers will be fanning out into Northern California and knocking on the doors of households that didn’t mail back their 2010 forms beginning Saturday, May 1.

The U.S. Census Bureau will launch the Non-Response Follow-Up operations — where census takers will collect information from households that did not return their census forms. Thousands of local residents have been hired as census takers to complete this important task.

“The Non-Response Follow-Up operation plays a vital role in helping achieve an accurate 2010 Census count and determine the allocation of federal funds for community services,” said Seattle Regional Director Ralph Lee. “We ask that you cooperate with census takers should they contact you. It’s easy, important and safe. Information collected by census takers cannot be shared with any other government agency; they’ve taken a lifetime oath to not reveal any data.”

In most cases, census workers will make initial visits during afternoons, early evenings and weekends. Workers will identify themselves with a census ID badge that contains a Department of Commerce watermark. The census taker may also be carrying a bag with a Census Bureau logo.   Census workers will not ask for citizenship status, Social Security numbers, credit card or banking information.

If asked, he or she will provide supervisor contact information and/or the local census office phone number for verification. If census workers are unable to reach a household member in-person, they will also attempt contact by phone to conduct the interview with the household member.

The Census Bureau began monitoring mail response rates since March 17, 2010 to estimate the local NRFU workload. Recruitment and training for NRFU operations began in November 2009. An estimated 635,000 census takers will be deployed around the nation for this operations, with more than 19,000 in Northern California.

The Census Bureau’s Northern California region stretches from Santa Cruz County in the south, and the Oregon border in the north. The NRFU operations are scheduled to be completed by July 10, 2010. For information on NRFU operations, visit 2010census.gov.

About the 2010 Census
Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census takes place every 10 years. Census data determine boundaries for state and local legislative and congressional districts. More than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed annually based on census data to pay for local programs and services, such as schools, highways, vocational training, emergency services, hospitals and much more.