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County replies besting averages
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Forsyth County News
The 2010 U.S. Census push appears to be paying off locally.

Forsyth County has posted a 47 percent participation rate so far, just above the national rate of 46 percent.

“As long as Forsyth’s staying ahead of the national average, that’s doing good,” said Dick Gormly, manager of the Alpharetta Census Office, whose coverage area includes the county.

Forsyth has also risen above the state’s participation rate of 41 percent.

Earlier this month, about 120 million households received the 10-question survey that counts the nation’s population every 10 years.

“We’ll keep hopefully getting census forms mailed in and keep it moving up to higher figures,” Gormly said.

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

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

“I think our county has done a really good job promoting the census,” said Buster Evans, chairman of the Forsyth County Census Complete Count Committee. “A 90 percent [final response rate] would be great.”

While the current rate is well below the county’s target, Thursday is National Census Day, the recommended day to return the survey.

Evans said many residents likely will mail their responses around this suggested deadline.

He said many of those who have filled out their forms were surprised at the simplicity of the census.

While the only legal requirement is to enter the number of people living in a household, Evans said the county’s committee encourages residents to answer all of the questions.

Those who don’t turn in their forms will receive a visit from a census worker beginning in early May.

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.