Have you mailed in your census form?
For 50 percent of Hall County residents, the answer is “yes.”
Today is census day, the due date the U.S. Census Bureau selected for all residents to fill out and return their forms by mail.
Phillippa Lewis Moss, co-chairwoman of Hall County’s complete count committee, said she is glad that Hall County’s return rate is the same as the national average.
“I’m thrilled, but there’s still a long way to go,” Moss said.
According to the Census Bureau, if all Americans mailed back their form, it would cut the cost of conducting the census by $1.5 billion.
For every percentage point mail responses increase, an estimated $85 million in federal funds will be saved.
The census becomes costly when census takers are sent to collect responses from households that don’t mail back the form. After the 2000 census, the Census Bureau was able to return $305 million because mail rates exceeded expectations.
Moss said there will be many more efforts over the next few weeks to count every citizen in Hall County.
“It’s not over until it’s over, and there’s a lot more work for our community to do,” Moss said. “For people who have not turned in their forms by (April 1), don’t give up. It’s not too late, go ahead and pop it in the mail.”
Moss said beginning in May, census takers will go door-to-door to collect information from households who did not return their surveys.
Those who have P.O. boxes will likely get a visit from a census worker soon.
Census surveys are targeted to location, so those who do not have mailboxes will have a census form hand-delivered.
“The census is employing a new technique this year,” Moss said. “There are a lot of communities, such as Lula and Clermont, where people have large rural properties where they don’t have mailboxes and they won’t receive their forms maybe the way they had expected.”
With a 50 percent return rate, Hall County is ahead of the Georgia average of 47 percent and tied with the national average of 50 percent.
Surrounding counties are also doing well. Dawson County also has a 50 percent return rate while Banks and Forsyth counties have a 52 percent return rate. Jackson and Habersham counties are leading the Northeast Georgia pack at 53 percent, while Gwinnett County lags behind the state average at 45 percent.
“We’re thrilled, quite frankly that we’re ahead of the state,” Moss said.