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County wants "Fayette First" on Census returns

Fayette County officials are hoping to “Keep Fayette First” when it comes to the county’s response rate to the U.S. Census.

The county has a bit of a reputation to uphold, having had the highest mail return rates in Georgia for the Census in 1990 (76 percent) and 2000 (79 percent). Organizers are hoping to significantly increase those numbers this year.

Data collected during the 2010 Census will provide critical information about Fayette’s current conditions and potential future needs, officials said.
Census data is used to reapportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and for the subsequent redistricting of state and local governments. Census data also helps to determine how more than $400 billion per year in federal funding is distributed to tribal, state and local governments to fund services for people in need.

Data from the 2010 Census will help establish locations for hospitals, senior centers and facilities for people with disabilities. Data also will help forecast transportation needs, such as new roads and transportation options.

One of the shortest census forms in U.S. Census history, the 2010 Census asks 10 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete. Responses to the census form should include everyone who will be living at that address as of Census Day, April 1, 2010, the official day of the population count. However, it is not necessary to wait until Census Day to return the census form.

When your form arrives: open it, complete it and mail it back. Your ten minutes will have been well spent, officials said.

According to local officials:
• Mailing back a form ensures an accurate count and lowers the cost of the 2010 Census by reducing the number of census workers who must go door-to-door to collect census data.
• Nationally, about $85 million could be saved for every one percent increase in mail participation.
• Additionally, the Census Bureau saves $60-$70 per census form returned by mail.

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