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Half of Newton responds to census

COVINGTON -- As census workers prepare to make a final push to get forms returned by going door to door, just more than half of Newton County residents have been counted.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the mail participation rate for Newton County is 53 percent. The state participation rate is 52 percent, while the national rate is 56 percent.

"The participation rate is moving up each day. The Census Complete Count Committee has worked hard to get the word out to Newton County. The committee continues to encourage everyone to send in your form," said local Census Coordinator Lynn Parham.

Parham said if participation continues to climb at its current rate, it should surpass the 76 percent participation rate recorded during the 2000 Census.

"If you received the census form, take the few minutes and complete it, drop it in the mail. If you didn't get one, please go to one of the Be Counted sites here in the county and get a form, fill it out and drop it in the mail. It is vital that everyone be counted," she said.

The mail participation rate is the percentage of forms mailed back by households that received them. The Census Bureau developed this new measure in 2010, in part because of the down economy and higher rates of vacant housing. The rate excludes households whose forms were returned by the U.S. Postal Service as "undeliverable."

Though April 1 was officially Census Day, it's not too late to send in questionnaires. Those who do not can expect a face-to-face visit with a census worker between April and July. By law, the Census Bureau must deliver population information to the president in December for apportionment.

This year, the Census Bureau has adopted the slogan, "10 Questions, 10 Minutes" to promote its new, abbreviated form.

Questions asked include whether a housing unit is rented or owned; the address of the residence; and names, genders, ages and races of those living in the household.

The individual who owns or rents the housing unit should complete the questionnaire on behalf of every one living there, relatives and nonrelatives.

For more information on the census, visit www.2010.census.gov or stop by the Covington-Newton County Welcome Center at 2101 Clark Street in Covington.