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National Census Day promotes filling out forms

April 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
April 1 is officially National Census Day, the day millions of Americans are supposed to have their census forms filled out and in the mail.Baby Isaac, who was born on April 1, was one of the last children to be counted in the current census. Officials say children are often undercounted.

"As we get counted we will have the opportunity to have representation at the Congressional level," said Dr. Hector Flores, chairman of the Family Practice Department at White Memorial Medical Center. "It also helps our redistricting in the state and the representation at the state level. And ultimately it means recruiting some of the dollars that we pay as taxpayers coming back to California."

Census officials are making one last push to let people know how important it is to mail in the census cards and be counted.

The response rate in Southern California as of today:

  • Los Angeles County: 46 percent
  • Orange County: 51 percent
  • Ventura County: 53 percent
  • San Bernardino County: 46 percent
  • Riverside County: 47 percent
  • Nationwide: 52 percent

"We estimate that for every one percent of America that sends back their form, we save $85 million, and that's real money," said James Christy, director of the U.S. Census Bureau's Los Angeles Regional Office. "That's money that we could actually turn back into the Treasury that we don't have to spend."

Some worried that Hispanics might be hesitant to give personal information, but according to a new survey, nine out of 10 Hispanics say they intend to participate.

"If we have an accurate count in the census, we expect the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to grow after the 2012 elections, because states like Arizona, Nevada, Texas, South Carolina, and Florida will all increase in their Congressional seats because of their increase in the Latino population. So this will be the Latino census," said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

Workers at census offices were very busy today, and they will get even busier. New people are now being hired to check to see how many cards come in, and more importantly how many don't.

"That's when we go out to the communities and to those homes that did not return the questionnaire, to go out and perhaps help them," said Armando Mendoza, area manager at the Downtown L.A. Census Office.

People have until approximately April 16 to send in their census cards. If you don't send your form in, you'll receive a postcard reminder in the mail. If you don't send it in after that, you can expect someone to come knocking on your door.