2010 census participation rates
Hall County 77%
Flowery Branch 78%
U.S. Census Bureau
The results are in: Hall County's 2010 census response rate is better than the national average.
In Hall County, 77 percent of people returned completed census forms, compared with 72 percent who did so in Georgia and 74 percent nationwide.
"I was excited about the results," said Phillippa Lewis Moss, co-chairwoman of the Hall County Complete Count Committee. "Overall we did quite well."
The city of Lula topped the list of Hall County municipalities, with 82 percent of residents responding. Gillsville and Clermont followed closely with 80 percent.
Moss said the high participation rates there are impressive given the confusion in the small cities earlier this year. For the first time, the Census Bureau sent representatives to the homes of people who have a P.O. box away from their property, rather than mailing a form. Many in rural areas have P.O. boxes and were concerned when they never received a form in the mail.
"Based on the numbers here, it looks like the efforts of census and the officials in those communities really did more than due diligence to get out the word and to encourage people to make themselves available for the home visits from census workers. Clearly they did a fantastic job," Moss said.
Flowery Branch fell slightly above the county average with 78 percent followed by Oakwood with 76 percent.
In Gainesville, the county's largest city, 71 percent of residents completed census forms.
"That's consistent with similar-sized communities in Georgia that have a small urbanized area," Moss said. For example, 71 percent of Hinseville residents responded, as did 72 percent in Rome and 70 in Macon.
"Given the demographics of Gainesville, the results matched similar communities in the state," she said.
Moss said she was pleasantly surprised by the 2010 rates, which on average stayed consisted with 2000 rates.
The numbers are difficult to compare, however, as the method used to report participation changed. The participation rate in Hall in 2000 was 66 percent, but because the new method aims to be more accurate by excluding vacant, foreclosed and seasonal homes, participation rates appear to increase more than they actually did.
"If anything my expectation is the participation rates would have gone down," Moss said. "2010 is a very difficult year. We had a lot of transition because of the recession, many people moved, relocated and doubled up."