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Mower County has high Census return rate

With just more than one week left for households to mail back their Census forms, Mower County is posting 75 percent participation as of Thursday.

In Austin, 74 percent of households have sent in their census forms; 79 percent in Rose Creek; 77 percent, Adams; 64 percent, Brownsdale; 74 percent, Grand Meadow; 70 percent, LeRoy; 75 percent, Dexter.

Hayfield posted 64 percent of surveys returned; Blooming Prairie posted 76 percent.

Steele County currently has 78 percent participation and in Albert Lea, 77 percent households have returned the form; 77 percent of Freeborn County has done the same.

Mailed to households in the middle of March, the census is required by the U.S. Constitution to be conducted every 10 years. It determines representation in Congress and is also used to allocate federal and state funding and redraw state legislative boundaries.

In an attempt to increase response rates, the Census Bureau last week began mailing its second round of forms to every household in communities that had a response rate of 59 percent or less in the last census. Households in communities with a response rate of up to 67 percent in 2000 who have not yet returned their forms will also receive a second copy, according to the Census Bureau.

“For those who have not yet had a chance to send it back, I’d like to reiterate that it’s not too late to participate and doing so will save a lot of taxpayer money,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves in a news release.

The form asks four general questions about every household, such as whether they rent or own their home, and then six questions about each person within the household, including name, sex, age, date of birth and race. The head of household should complete the form on behalf of every person living in the residence, including relatives and non-relatives.

Households have until mid-April to mail back their forms before census takers begin going door-to-door to residences that failed to respond.

During a visit from a census taker, people should ask to see the census taker’s ID. All census workers carry official government badges marked with their name.

According to the Census Web site, the current national mail participation rate is 63 percent; the total national participation in 2000 was 72 percent.

As of Thursday, 72 percent of households statewide had participated in the Census. In 2000, 78 percent of the state participated.

The Welcome Center, the Senior Center, Austin Public Library and Queen of Angels Church as well as other area groups, are offering help for people to fill out census data.

The Albert Lea Tribune contributed to this report.