HARRISBURG—Tomorrow is the day the U.S. Census Bureau would like you to send in those census forms. The goal, to get every single person counted and Pennsylvanians are chiming in at a better-then average rate.
The census is crucial to determining two main things, representation in government and funding of over $400 billion worth of federal programs. With that much on the line, the Census Bureau is taking every every step possible to make sure everyone is counted.
April 1 is not just April Fool's Day, it is also National Census Day. It's a day where the U.S. Census Bureau would like to see every single American mail back those 10-question forms.
"It is very important that we get an accurate count and as such it is costly," said Stephen Buckner, U.S. Census Bureau.
Costly indeed, to the tune of nearly $15 billion. But there is money to be saved, if people mail back the forms. Just yesterday, the national participation rate hit a milestone, eclipsing 50 percent. Still, that is far lower than the 72 percent rate reached in 2000.
"We can actually save about 1.5 billion dollars in the taking of the census if every single person mailed back their form," Buckner said.
Pennsylvanians are answering the call of the census at a far greater rate than the national average.
According to the Census Bureau website, PA's participation rate stands at 56 percent.
Our area is fairing even better. Adams County is leading the way with a 63 percent participation rate, while York, Lancaster, Lebanon and Cumberland Counties stand at 62 percent. Dauphin County is lagging a bit behind, with only 57 percent responding.
The government estimates it can save $85 million for every percentage point the mail back rate increases nationally.
"It is a lot less expensive to mail back your form then to have to send a census taker to your door," Buckner said.
And those door-to-door knockers will begin the process in late April and early May.
The is why the government is pushing the mail back so hard. Estimates show that every time a census worker goes to a house to collect data, it costs the government and taxpayers $57.