As of Monday, 44 percent of the mailed census forms to Bee County residents had been returned.
This is lower than the state average of 56 percent. It is also lower than the county rate of 58 percent during the 2000 census.
Gene Stephenson received his letter earlier this year that the census form was coming, but since then nothing.
“I got one of the letters that I remember,” he said. “It think it was one announcing we would be receiving the form pretty soon.”
His neighbors got their forms but not him.
“I have heard rumors that this is occurring all over the country,” he said. “I voted in every election, I filed my income tax.
“They have my information. I don’t know what has happened to my form.”
Stephenson was going to call about the missing form to avoid future problems.
The Census Bureau will continue to accept census questionnaires by mail through mid-April.
Beginning May 1, census workers will begin going door to door to households that failed to mail back their forms — a massive operation that costs taxpayers an average of $57 per household vs. the 42 cents it takes to get a response back by mail.
“The Census Bureau and I would like to thank everyone who has already taken 10 minutes to fill out and mail back the 2010 Census,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said in a news release. “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.”
While Bee County rated below the state average — it wasn’t alone.
In Refugio County, 42 percent of the residents returned their forms. This is far less than the 57 percent returned for the 2000 Census.
Only 34 percent of the residents in Live Oak and McMullen counties returned this year’s forms. Live Oak had a return of 49 percent for the 2000 Census while McMullen County had a return of 46 percent.
Secretary of State Hope Andrade, appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to promote participation in the census, said, “Completing the short census form only takes a few minutes, but those few minutes can have a significant impact on our state for many years to come. Our focus is on getting a complete and accurate count of Texas residents by helping to spread the word across the state.”
About the 2010 Census
The 2010 Census is a count of everyone living in the United States and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Census data are used to apportion congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to tribal, state and local governments each year and to make decisions about what community services to provide.
The 2010 Census form is one of the shortest in U.S. history, consisting of 10 questions, taking about 10 minutes to complete.
Strict confidentiality laws protect the respondents and the information they provide.
Those who do not receive their forms by April 12 can call 1-866-872-6868 for assistance. Additional information about the census is also available online at www.2010.census.gov.