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Census shifting gears for home visits
By Haya El Nasser and Paul Overberg, USA TODAY
As the first phase of the 2010 Census — mailing back the forms — comes to a close, another more expensive, tedious and labor-intensive one begins: going door-to-door. About 71% of U.S. households that received questionnaires mailed them back. The rate is likely to surpass the 2000 Census rate of 72%. That's good news, but it leaves about 50 million addresses that Census workers must check out — most in dense city neighborhoods, minority communities and rural spots.
The Census is creating 1.2 million jobs this year — a force almost as large as the U.S. armed forces.
Almost half the jobs will involve visiting the 50 million homes that did not respond. If they're occupied, head counters will try to get residents to answer the 10 Census questions, even if it means visiting up to six times. They will try weekdays, weekends, early mornings and evenings to catch people at home.
Advertising and community outreach are shifting from encouraging people to mail their forms to asking them to open their doors to Census workers. They "will be going into some of the toughest neighborhoods in the country," Groves says. "We don't know how the American public that did not respond will react when we knock on their doors."
Your Birth Certificate & Life Pledged As Collateral.