Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Numbers Are in: 72 Percent of Nation's Households Mail Back 2010 Census Forms

/PRNewswire/ -- Slightly more than 72 percent of U.S. households believed to be occupied mailed back their 2010 Census forms, the same rate that was achieved in 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. In the fall of 2010, the Census Bureau will release a final "mail return rate" after census workers double-check the occupancy status of all households that didn't return a census form.

"This is a significant achievement; the nation has stepped up to the challenge of participating in this once-a-decade civic event," said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. "We knew the job would be more difficult in 2010 than in 2000, yet the nation responded tremendously."

America responded despite trends over the past decade toward declining survey participation, a more diverse population, a difficult economic environment and a growing distrust of government.

To motivate increased mail participation, the Census Bureau challenged communities nationwide to work to improve the participation rates they achieved in the 2000 Census. Twenty-eight states met or exceeded their 2000 Census rates, and 11 more were within one point of matching their rates (see separate news release). Numerous cities and counties also matched or exceeded their rates. (See the "Take 10 Challenge Map" for detailed results, or results from the largest cities and counties on the news conference press kit page: 0.html)

States with the highest mail participation rates include: Wisconsin (81 percent), Minnesota (80 percent), Iowa (78 percent) and Indiana (78 percent). North Carolina and South Carolina achieved the greatest percentage point increase among all states, both increasing by 9 percentage points (North Carolina jumped from 66 to 74 percent; South Carolina from 65 to 73 percent).

Cities with populations of 50,000 or more with the highest rates were Livonia, Mich. (87 percent), Rochester, Minn. (82 percent) and Sterling Heights, Mich. (82 percent). Charleston, S.C., achieved the greatest point increase (jumping 9 percentage points from 64 to 73 percent). Three cities increased by 8 percentage points: Minneapolis (from 68 to 76 percent); Miramar, Fla. (from 65 to 73 percent) and Surprise, Ariz. (from 63 to 71 percent).

The rates for all states, counties, cities, towns and neighborhoods are on the Census Bureau's interactive mail participation rate map at

The nation's response helps pave the way for the next phase of the 2010 Census: the deployment of 635,000 census takers across the country who will go door to door to obtain census responses from all remaining households. The temporary census workers are in training this week and will begin obtaining census responses this weekend. The Census Bureau is urging households to open their doors to their local census taker and will provide more information on this operation at a news briefing May 3.


The 2010 Census is a count of everyone living in the United States and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Census data are used to apportion congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to tribal, state and local governments each year and to make decisions about what community services to provide. The 2010 Census form is one of the shortest in U.S. history, consisting of 10 questions, taking about 10 minutes to complete. Strict confidentiality laws protect the respondents and the information they provide.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Help Reverse Slide in Tax Checkoff Funding for Georgia Wildlife

A convenient but critical way to support Georgia’s wildlife needs your help this tax season.

State income tax checkoff contributions to the Georgia Wildlife Conservation Fund have declined in recent years. While not an all-time low, contributions for the most recent fiscal year fell another 20 percent, or nearly $60,000 from the previous year.

Yet, the checkoff is a key fundraiser for the Wildlife Conservation Fund. The fund is administered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Conservation Section and dedicated to the conservation of nongame and endangered animals and plants statewide.

The Nongame Conservation Section receives no state funding for its mission to conserve nongame wildlife. Nongame includes native Georgia animals not legally hunted, fished for or trapped, as well as native plants, from sea turtles to songbirds and pitcherplants.

Jon Ambrose, assistant chief of the Nongame Conservation Section, said the Wildlife Conservation Fund is also used to attract federal and private research and conservation funding to Georgia. By using the fund as match, DNR gained $1 for every 25 cents spent from the fund over the past two years. The Nongame Conservation Section has averaged about $1.5 million a year in federal State Wildlife Grants over the past decade, Ambrose said.

The checkoff “is critical in terms of providing the match we need to get this funding from other sources,” he said.

The Give Wildlife a Chance checkoff has been a success since its creation in 1989. Thanks to the generosity of Georgians, more than $6 million has been raised. Contributions played a part in many conservation achievements, varying from the restoration of bald eagle populations to land acquisitions such as the prized Silver Lake Wildlife Management Area near Bainbridge.

That success story can continue with the help of conservation-minded Georgians.

This year, even in the midst of a recession, citizens can reverse the decline in checkoff contributions by filling in any amount more than $1 on line 27 of the state’s long tax form (Form 500) or line 10 of the short form (Form 500EZ). Contributions can be deducted from refunds or added to payments.

For more information, go to, or call Nongame Conservation Section offices in Social Circle (770-761-3035), Forsyth (478-994-1438) or Brunswick (912-264-7218). State income tax forms are available online at

The Nongame Conservation Section also benefits from sales of the bald eagle and ruby-throated hummingbird license plates, an annual fundraiser called Weekend for Wildlife, and donations. Details at

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Special Olympics Georgia: Officers Are 'Cuffed for a Cause' April 10

/PRNewswire/ -- Local police officers brave moving treadmills for EIGHT hours straight... On April 10th, Special Olympics Georgia and Georgia police officers join forces to raise money for the Law Enforcement Torch Run®.

WHO: Special Olympics Georgia and Georgia Law Enforcement Officers

WHAT: Georgia Law Enforcement officers are once again teaming up with Special Olympics Georgia to raise money for the Law Enforcement Torch Run® of Special Olympics Georgia. Officers will be handcuffed to moving treadmills for EIGHT hours (or until they reach their fundraising goal) for Georgia's third annual "Cuffed for a Cause" Saturday, April 10th. They will collect donations from customers as they walk, walk, walk and walk some more.

WHEN: The officers will start their treadmills across the state at various locations on Saturday, April 10th.

Dunwoody Police Department: Perimeter Mall; 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Road

Gwinnett County Police Department: Wal-Mart; 3795 Buford Drive, Buford

Milton Police Department: Wal-Mart; 5200 Windward Parkway, Milton

Paulding County Marshal Bureau: Wal-Mart; 4166 Jimmy Lee Smith Parkway, Hiram

For more information about Cuffed for a Cause and the Law Enforcement Torch Run®, visit

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's Not Too Late to Return Your 2010 Census - Communities Plan 'March to the Mailbox'

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With just over one week left for households to mail back their 2010 Census forms, thousands of volunteers in more than 6,000 neighborhoods plan to participate in "March to the Mailbox" parades, marches, walks, rallies and motorcades on Sat., April 10 -- hoping to remind people that it's not too late to mail back their forms and be counted.

The grassroots outreach, led by census partners, volunteers and local residents, is being held nationwide in neighborhoods with low mail participation rates -- from Miami to Seattle and Detroit to Houston. During the events, volunteers will come together in high traffic areas to remind residents that it is not too late to mail back their Census forms and encourage those who have delayed to "March to the Mailbox" and mail it back today.

"This is a great example of neighbors working together to ensure their community gets its fair share of federal resources for roads, schools and other important community services as well as congressional representation," U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said. "For those who have not yet responded, we ask that you join your neighbors and mail back your easy-to-complete, 10 question census form today."

The "March to the Mailbox" is one final effort to boost mail back rates in hard-to-count communities before personal visits to non-responding households start May 1. Households have until April 16 to mail back their form, as the Census Bureau must begin preparing to train temporary census workers to obtain census responses in person from households that did not send back their forms.

The Census Bureau saves about $85 million in operational costs for every percentage point increase in the nation's participation rate by mail. If every household completed and mailed back their census form, taxpayers could reduce the cost of taking the census and save $1.5 billion. In 2000, the nation reversed a three-decade decline in mail response rates and saved $305 million.

Nationwide, currently 65 percent of households have mailed back their census forms. In 2000, the mail participation rate was 72 percent. For the first time, the Census Bureau has mailed replacement forms to areas with historically low mail response rates. Research shows that the replacement forms will help increase mail response in those areas, which significantly reduces the cost of taking the census.

The Census Bureau has created tools to help communities track their census participation through a campaign that is urging everyone to "Take 10" minutes to fill out and mail back their form. The Take 10 Challenge Map on the 2010 Census Web site shows the latest daily participation rates, giving users the option to download and embed a local rate tracker "widget" on their own Web site.

All census responses are confidential. Answers are protected by law and cannot be shared with anyone. Extreme measures are taken to protect the identity of individuals and businesses. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents' individually identifiable answers with anyone, including tribal housing authorities, other federal agencies and law enforcement entities.

If you did not receive a Census form or cannot locate it, visit: to find a "Be Counted" site in your neighborhood, where forms are available. Or, call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Center at 1-866-872-6868 for help.

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