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Published: Tuesday, 4/13/2010

Bedford Township beats state, U.S. in census-form return rate

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TEMPERANCE - Preliminary findings by the U.S. Census Bureau show that 77 percent of all households in Bedford Township have returned their questionnaires.

The township's return rate exceeds those of both the state and nation but lags the 84 percent rate in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau Web site.

As of Friday afternoon, the national return rate was 65 percent and Michigan's was 71 percent.

Ten years ago the national return rate was 72 percent and the state's was 77 percent.

The Census Bureau asked that the forms be returned before April 1.

Dennis Jenkins, the township's coordinator of community development and planning, said residents have called the township asking why they didn't receive census forms and seeking to be counted.

He said anyone who didn't get a census form should call the Census Bureau at 1-866-872-6868.

"People who don't get a census form will have one hand-delivered to their house when census workers go door-to-door," Mr. Jenkins said.

John Willse, a spokesman for the Census Bureau's regional office in Cleveland, said the government is pushing to increase the mail-ins to lower the costs of the federal program.

The U.S. Census Bureaus has said that increasing the response by 1 percentage point nationally will result in about $85 million in savings because census workers will not have to be deployed to residences to collect the data.

"If people mail it back, that costs 42 cents, and to send a person out to call on those people who have not returned their forms costs an average of $57 in salary, mileage, and related expenses associated with sending out a census taker," Mr. Willse said.

The Census Bureau sent an estimated 130 million questionnaires last month to every address in the county.

Mr. Jenkins said the township population more than likely has grown from the 28,758 residents that the government counted in 2005.

He said 1,300 addresses of habitable houses that were constructed since the last count were given to the Census Bureau for this year's data.

Mr. Jenkins said it is important for residents to complete and return forms because the township's share of federal and state funding for programs is based on its population.

"We want to make sure that the money in grants and direct aid that we are entitled to from Washington and Lansing comes back to us," he said.

The Monroe County return rate as of last Friday afternoon was 75 percent.

Whiteford Township's rate was 78 percent and Erie Township's was 74 percent.



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