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Census Sends Extra Forms to Low Response Areas

By Washington Post, Washington Post - April 7, 2010

People who completed and mailed back questionnaires for the 2010 Census might wonder why they've received one, maybe two additional forms in the mail.

The Census Bureau mailed additional questionnaires last week to parts of the country with low response rates during the 2000 Census. In the Washington area, that meant neighborhoods in the District (especially Northeast and Southeast); Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland; and Arlington and Fairfax counties and Alexandria in Virginia, among other nearby jurisdictions.

Other parts of the region with slightly better but still low response rates in 2000 will receive at least one duplicate form starting Saturday, the agency said.

This is the first time the Census Bureau has sent the forms again, after research indicated that it might boost response rates in low-responding regions by 7 to 10 percent, a spokeswoman said.

Printing the extra forms will cost taxpayers about $42 million, but officials say the additional effort ultimately will save more than $500 million that would have been used to hire temporary census takers.

If people already filled out a form and receive another one, they should destroy it, the bureau said. But the agency said it can avoid processing duplicates from the same address by tracking the bar codes on each form.

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