Local News

Census Forms Arrive in Mailboxes Friday

Posted Updated

RALEIGH — Are you ready to stand up and be counted?The U.S. Census Bureauhopes so. The first batch of Census 2000 forms are being delivered Friday.

Census Bureau director Kenneth Prewitt says the agency has tried nearly everything to get people to fulfill their civic duty and return forms.

The challenge is to overcome the public's increased apathy and concerns over confidentiality. The bureau is trying a number of new things this year, including a $167 million advertising campaign. People will also be able tofill out the surveys over the Internetfor the first time.

Historically, minorities are undercounted when the census is taken. Prewitt says this year's forms will give people more latitude in selecting a racial or ethnic group.

To help encourage more African Americans to respond to the census, a booth has also been set up this week at theCIAA tournament.

Nevertheless, census officials do not expect response rates to be good.

Rates have declined recently. In 1970, 78 percent of households responded to the census. Ten years later, only 70 percent responded. In 1990, response rates were down to 65 percent. Officials expect the number to drop to around 60 percent this year.

Census results help determine government representation and funding available to local communities for education, employment and housing.