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Community count is on the way
Leaders encourage Census response
Census2010 logo
The 2010 Census kicks off next week. - photo by Submitted
The days are numbered until the 2010 U.S Census counting begins next week.

“It’s kind of been one of those things that we thought would never come and all of a sudden is right here,” said Buster Evans, chairman of the Forsyth County Census Complete Count Committee.

This week, about 120 million American households will receive a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau as a reminder that the decennial count of the country’s population is back.

Next week, the 10-question surveys will begin arriving in the mail.

Diana Schwartz, area Census spokeswoman, said the letters will serve as an advanced notice to make sure residents don’t toss aside their survey.

“That is our biggest concern right now is to make the public aware that it’s only 10 questions, it’s safe, it’s easy and it makes a difference in the type of funding your community will get ultimately if everyone is counted,” she said.

People will have about two weeks to fill out the form, however Dick Gormly said the hope is people will “mail them as soon as they can.”

“Every one that gets mailed back saves a lot of money for the taxpayers,” said Gormly, manager of the Alpharetta Census Office, whose coverage area includes Forsyth.

For every 1 percent of the population that doesn’t respond to the questionnaire, census figures show it costs about $2.7 million to track down their responses. That number increases to more than $85 million nationally.

Schwartz said April 10 will be the “March to the Mailbox” push. By May, census workers will be out in communities in force.

The national mail response average during the 2000 Census was about 67 percent, just 65 percent in Georgia.

This year, Gormly aims to beat the national average, but “we obviously want to go much higher than that.”

“We’d like 100 percent,” he said.

Forsyth County’s 2000 Census mail response was about 72 percent.

To improve upon that, local leaders — including representatives of the school system, city of Cumming and county governments, local chamber of commerce and nonprofit organizations — have been reaching out to the community.

As a result, Evans said, “our community has embraced it.”

“We ought to make an ‘A,’” said Evans, who is superintendent of the local school district. “You have to get a 90 percent to make an ‘A.’

“While I’d like to see 100 percent, I would just be so proud if we, as a community, can get to a 90 percent.”