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Census Day: California Lagging A Bit Behind



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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Have you sent your census form in?
 
“Yes ,yes, yes, it’s been signed, sealed, delivered."
 
That’s Ann Tracy. She lives in Sacramento and put hers in the mail right away. She wishes everyone did the same:
 
“A lot of people just don’t, they don’t understand that filling out the census helps us to determine how many representatives a state gets, which means how many pieces of the federal pie a state will get..”
 
Nationally, about 52 percent of Americans who’ve received census forms have mailed them back already, but according to the U.S. Census bureau, the rate in California is about 49 percent so far. It varies widely by county. The low is 16 percent in Alpine. Sacramento is closer to the national average at 51 percent and in L. A., it’s 46 percent.  California Census Director Ditas Katague says they’re making a big push today because billions of dollars are on the line for the state:
 
“If you think about April 15th as tax day, when all Californians send money back to Washington D.C., you have to think about April 1 as the one time, once a decade, that Californians can demand their dollars back from Washington by simply taking ten minutes to fill out their census forms.”

Of course, California’s rate will likely go up as people drop forms in the mail this week. People like Jeremy West, who just haven’t gotten around to it yet:
 
 “I have it sitting in a pile of mail on my desk.”
 
 West is also from Sacramento. He says the ten-question form seemed awfully short. But Gwen Oliver from Davis disagrees:
 
“Well, the census actually was just to count the people, so it should just be about two or three questions.”
 
Roughly 400 billion dollars in federal funds are handed out based on the census. Much of the money goes for health care programs, roads and schools. If you don’t send your form in, you can expect a visit from a census worker sometime between April and July.

Wondering which states have the highest participation rates? Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota top the list right now.  
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