With the April 1st deadline approaching, state officials are encouraged by Georgians’ response to mailing back their Census forms.
Into last weekend, Georgia had a mail-back response rate of around 21 percent. But in only a few days time, that’s jumped up to 41 percent. The national rate is a bit higher at 46 percent.
Saralyn Stafford with Georgia’s Census committee says reasons for the spike include a fresh partnership with the state’s Department of Transportation.
She says using the electronic traffic billboards over the major interstates is another way the state’s been creative without having a Census advertising budget.
“That was something that we requested the end of last week and we were just delighted they were able to help us with that. Because it’s an excellent reminder (for people who might say) ‘oh yeah about that form...when I get home I need to get it off the kitchen table and fill it out.”
Going forward in the next few months, Stafford says challenges remain to getting the most accurate count for the state:
"I think it is getting to the rural populations and getting into those hard to count Census track areas. Those are the ones that the U.S. Census Bureau has kind of pointed out for us that typically have a lower response rate.”
Stafford says the number of forms returned by mail will determine the workload for Census workers going door-to-door starting in May.
More on Georgia's Census effort can be accessed online at census.georgia.gov