The Census Bureau reported today that 74 percent of households completed their census forms and mailed them back, matching the final participation rate of the 2000 census.
The final 2010 census participation rate, which reflected a two percent increase over the preliminary participation rate announced on April 27, is remarkable given the challenges facing the 2010 census, including:
- a larger, more diverse, and more mobile population;
- the displacement of thousands by natural (Hurricanes Katrina and Rita) and human-made (foreclosures) disasters;
- increased concerns about privacy and confidentiality in a post 9/11 environment;
- the potential chilling effect of anti-immigrant policies;
- and, most recently, a severe economic recession.
Civil and human rights groups were concerned that these challenges would result in an inaccurate count that adversely affects hard-to-count minority and low-income communities. In response, many groups became Census Bureau partners and worked to reassure the public that census information is confidential, helped communities learn how to avoid possible fraud, and provided multiple resources in a variety of languages to help individuals understand how to complete the form.
In addition, The Leadership Conference Education Fund launched a campaign with four national civil rights organizations and local community-based organizations to encourage census participation among hard-to-count populations in 13 key areas around the country.
The Census Bureau is currently verifying all the data it collected during the enumeration. It will report the official national and state population counts, which are used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, by the end of this year.