My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Posts Tagged ‘response’

Census Bureau Press Release: Nation Achieves 74 Percent Final Mail Participation in 2010 Census

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Editor’s Note: The Census Bureau spent $340 million on ads for the 2010 Census…way more than it spent in 2000, while it achieved the same response rate.

Here’s the press release:

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that 74 percent of households in the United States filled out and mailed back their 2010 Census questionnaire, matching the final mail participation rate achieved in the 2000 Census. Twenty-two states, 1,553 counties, and 278 cities and townships with a population of 50,000 or more met or exceeded their 2000 Census participation rates. The District of Columbia and Puerto Rico also met or exceeded their rates.

The final 74 percent mail participation rate includes an additional 2 percent of households that mailed back their forms after April 27, when the U.S. Census Bureau announced a 72 percent participation rate. While these forms were received too late to prevent a visit by a census taker, they were included in the final tally. “We are very pleased with the public’s response to the 2010 Census, and these results demonstrate that the public stepped up to be counted,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said.

Approximately 47 million households that did not mail back a census form by the deadline were visited by census takers in person as part of a series
of operations and methods to ensure as complete a count as possible. The Census Bureau either received a form or attempted repeated visits to 100
percent of the identified housing units in the country. “As the law requires, we look forward to reporting to the nation by Dec. 31 the national and state populations as well as the allocation of seats to each state in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Groves said.
The final mail participation rates for the nation, states, counties, cities, towns and even the neighborhood level can now be found on the 2010 Census website (http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/2010textview.php).

Below are final mail participation results from the 20 largest cities nationwide based on 2008 population estimates.

Highest Mail Participation Rates: Cities with Populations Over 100,000

Cities                   Percent
Livonia, Mich.             88
Rochester, Minn.           83
Centennial, Colo.          83
Sterling Heights, Mich.       83
Naperville, Ill.           83
Olathe, Kan.               82
Arvada, Colo.              82
Cary, N.C.                 82
Hialeah, Fla.              82
Madison, Wis.              82
Thousand Oaks, Calif.         81
Warren, Mich.              81
Overland Park, Kan.           81
Boise, Idaho               81
Billings, Mont.            80
Ann Arbor, Mich.           80
Independence, Mo.          80
Sioux Falls, S.D.          80
Chesapeake, Va.            80
Lincoln, Neb.              80

65% and counting…

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Displayed data as of: Saturday, April 10, 2010 -

2010 Census National Participation Rate: 65%

MyTwoCensus Investigation: Why is the Census Bureau pointing at some cities to improve while others are left lagging behind in silence?

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Imagine you’re in first grade and you’re playing soccer for a team. Imagine if you’re one of a handful of kids who isn’t playing as well as the others. Now, imagine that the coach tells a few kids who are playing poorly what they’re doing wrong, but he doesn’t tell you anything. So what do you do? You keep doing what you’re doing, which is lousy. It’s lousy because you will never get better. Well, this is what the Census Bureau has done in recent days by pointing out that some states, cities and towns have poor “participation rates” while letting others linger in the darkness.

Just yesterday, I worried that Connecticut didn’t have enough resources for its Questionnaire Assistance Centers. Today, my fears were confirmed when the Census Bureau called out Connecticut on its low response rates. The Census Bureau sent out a press release with the following:

2010 Census Mail Participation Rates in Parts of Connecticut
Behind Rest of the Nation

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves noted today that some areas are
lagging behind the rest of the country in mailing back their 2010 Census
forms. With Census Day on April 1, parts of Connecticut still have some of
the lowest rates of mail participation. Nationally, 50 percent of
households have mailed back their forms. But in parts of Connecticut, the
participation rate is significantly lower, with Hartford one of the
farthest behind at 32 percent.

“We’re concerned about the relatively low response from parts of
Connecticut,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. “Every household
that fails to send back their census form by mail must be visited by a
census taker starting in May — at a significant taxpayer cost. The easiest
and best way to be counted in the census is to fill out and return your
form by mail.”

Why single out Connecticut and Chicago when other states and cities are performing even worse? (Conspiracy theorists may start here when they notice that both of these regions tilt Democratic and it would be an insult to the President if Chicago underperformed…)

On Tuesday, a concerned reader wrote to me (note the following numbers have changed since Tuesday…), “This morning the Bureau issued a press release calling out a number of cities and states concerned with their mailback response.  The Bureau called out Anchorage, AK (41% participation response) and Montgomery, AL (41%) as low performing areas.  They also called out several cities in Florida and Jackson Mississippi which have participation rates in the 30’s.

Why did the Census Bureau single out some areas in press releases and not others?  As of Tuesday’s update, these major cities all had participation rates in the 30% range – Houston, TX 33%, Philadelphia, San Antonio and Dallas each at 37%, Austin, TX 33%, Columbus, OH 35%, and Memphis, TN 31%  — yet weren’t mentioned anywhere.

Why call out some locales and not others? If there is a method to this madness, Dr. Groves, Mr. Jost, Mr. Buckner, and other Census Bureau officials are requested to let us know in the comments section why there is such disparity in the levels of attention given by the Bureau to specific poorly performing areas.

Mail Participation Rate Climbs to 46%

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

According to the Census Bureau, as of 4pm EST yesterday, the mail participation rate was 46%. We await the results as to what it will be at 4pm today…

Robert M. Groves/Google Press Conference transcript now available…

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Find it here.


MyTwoCensus Investigation: 2010 Census Response Rates Lag Behind Response Rates From 2000

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Correction/Update:

1. I may have misheard Dr. Groves at the Wednesday Press conference when I wrote that he said 2010 response rates were as good as they were in 2000.

2. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that 2010 response rates are significantly WORSE than they were in 2000. My suspicions were also raised today when I learned that the response rate increased by 14% in one day. This means that some 25 million forms were processed in the past 24 hours, which is historically unheard of!

I apologize for any inaccuracies, but I stand behind the data and statistics that I am reporting, and furthermore, other than the one statement above, I stand by the rest of my claims. I was likely confused when I heard Dr. Groves say “We’re off to a pretty good start.”

Though we don’t have the full transcript yet (we will publish it here as soon as we get it), Census Director Robert M. Groves made claims at yesterday’s press conference that mail response rates for the 2010 Census were ahead of/on par with what they were in 2000. These claims are false for the following reasons…

According to Appendix F of this document from the 2000 Census, http://www.census.gov/pred/www/rpts/A.7.a.pdf, the mail return rate was at 42% ten days after the major questionnaire mailing period began on 3/13/2000. But in 2010, ten days after the process started on 3/15, the  participation rate is at only 20%. Here are screenshots from the 2000 report and from 2010Census.gov to check out the data:

Now, look at the mailback rate for 2010 on 3/25 (This year the mailing started on 3/15. In 2000 it started on 3/13.):

*ALSO, PLEASE  KEEP IN MIND THAT THE 2010 CENSUS FORM IS WAY SHORTER/EASIER TO COMPLETE THAN THE ONE FROM 2000!

Why is the South lagging behind? — and other questions about response rates and the 2010 Census mapping tool.

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

I’m hoping Nate Silver or another quantitative/statistical genius (other than Census Director Robert M. Groves) can provide me with  details about the current participation rates for the 2010 Census (updated Monday-Friday by the Census Bureau). Some key questions I hope to ask Dr. Groves at his press conference later today:

1. How do these rates compare with mail response rates for this time of year during the 2000 Census?

2. From my casual observations, it appears that the South is lagging behind in 2010 Census response rates. Does that this mean there will be a shift of more workers to this region? (And actually, does this mean that more taxpayer money will be infused into regions that DON’T participate in the 2010 Census initially, so more workers will physically knock on every door in these places, and thus raise the amount of cash generated for workers in such areas?)

3. IT Question Why the heck does my computer, which rarely ever experiences problems, freeze when I try to zoom in to check out Census Data? Come on Census Bureau, get your act together with your technology!

4. Should states or counties with low mail response rates be punished in some way (such as by withholding funds in the future), as it will be more costly to run more extensive non response follow up operations in these areas?

5. Why are areas of the map of the US (at the local level) blank in some instances?

6. Why can’t view the response rate for a particular town or city in all situations — and sometimes only one part of a city or town?

7. Why is it impossible for the common man (me!) with some statistical knowledge to understand what the data in the “Download Today’s Data” means — particularly because we don’t know what each of the “regions” stands for?

8. Why has the Census Bureau created such an incomprehensible explaination on their web site to explain the difference between mail response rate and mail participation rate?