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Census Director Visits Raleigh to Remind Residents Every Person Counts

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RALEIGH — U.S. Censusforms go out every ten years, and organizers want to involve as many people as possible this time around. The director of the agency was in Raleigh Friday getting the message out to stand up and be counted.

TheExplorismuseum is a place where people go to learn more about people, so organizers thought it would be the perfect place to promoteCensus 2000.

Thepopulation in North Carolinais exploding, increasing the importance of counting everyone.

"The census is the area or the focus or the exercise and effort that will help us understand who these people are, where they are, and what is it we need to do to better prepare," says Ricardo Perez, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president.

U.S. residents will be receiving census forms next week. State leaders want residents to fill them out and mail them back. Only 63 percent of North Carolinians did that in 1990. The goal is to increase that rate by 5 percent.

In the three Triangle counties, more than a third of all residents failed to mail their census forms back in 1990.

Close to 40 percent failed to reply in surrounding counties. And almost half of the residents in Harnett and Franklin counties failed to answer the government's request.

Census forms must be completed and mailed back by April 1, Census Day. If you do not mail yours back, expect a knock on your door from a census counter, collecting the information in person. That visit does not come cheap.

"It costs about eight times as much to get census information when you're knocking on doors as when it comes back through the mail," says Dr. Kenneth Prewitt, U.S. Census Bureau director.

The final calculations revealed children were the most underrepresented segment of the population in the last census. They also paid the biggest price in money lost for schools and other programs.


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