January 25th, 2010 | Posted in Population Basics
by Mark Mather, associate vice president, Domestic Programs
Today, Census Bureau Director Robert Groves is headed to Noorvik Alaska to kick off the 2010 Census enumeration of the U.S. population. By mid-March, the Census Bureau will have mailed out more than 120 million questionnaires to residential addresses around the country. Earlier this month, the Census Bureau also launched its $133 million advertising campaign to boost awareness of the census and why it’s important.
A report released last week by the Pew Research Center showed that 9 in 10 people know about the census and understand that it’s important, but getting everyone to send back their completed forms is another matter. Nearly one in five people are ambivalent about participating in the once-a-decade enumeration of the U.S. population. Among those who said they won’t participate, most reported they are either too busy, not interested, or don’t know much about the census. But more than one-fourth of the census doubters—those that keep Census Bureau staff up at night—said they either don’t trust the government, don’t think the census is important, or have concerns about invasion of privacy.
There is more at stake here than the accuracy of the data. For every 1-percentage-point increase in the initial mail-back response rate, taxpayers save up to $90 million in costs associated with in-person, follow-up interviews to collect the missing information. For more information about the 2010 Census and why it’s important, visit PRB’s website.