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In 2000, only 62 percent of Marion County residents returned their Census forms via the mail.
Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly is counting on local residents doing better this time.
In fact, he's betting on it.
Last week, Mattingly made a bet with Washington County Judge/Executive John Settles that Marion County will have a higher return rate than Washington County. The losing county judge will purchase dinner for the other county's Complete Count Committee.
Marion and Washington counties had two of the lowest participation rates among the 13 counties in the Lexington district in the 2000 Census. Both county judges are hoping for improved participation this time.
Michelle Lynne Elison, a Census Bureau partnership specialist, said during last week's meeting of the Marion County Complete Count Committee, that the Census forms will be mailed out between March 15-17. This year's form will have 10 basic questions, although the form will repeat some questions for each member of a household.
Elison also reminded residents that Census workers will not need to visit their homes if they mail their forms back to the Census Bureau.
If a Census form is not sent to a household, the bureau is setting up Be Counted sites, where extra forms will be available.
The U.S. Constitution requires the government to conduct a census every 10 years. The first census was conducted in 1790. The aim of the census is to count every person residing in the United States.
Today, the census figures are used to determine how more than $400 billion will be distributed annually for the next decade. These funds cover a variety of areas, including, but not limited to, education, health care and transportation.
Census figures are also used when government determines how many representatives each state will have in Congress. The census figures also affect the shape of Congressional districts.
Workers still needed
Individuals interested in temporary work for the Census Bureau during the 2010 Census may still take the employment exam.
Although individuals are encouraged to sign-up in advance to take the Census exam, walk-ins are welcome during the scheduled exams.
For information about when and where to take an exam, call 1 (866) 861-2010.