Routt County Residents of Routt County can still expect to see Census workers knocking on their doors this month.
U.S. Census 2000 is about 30 percent done with the job of surveying local people who did not respond to mailed census forms.
"We're not done counting," Jim White of the Denver Regional Census Center told Steamboat Springs City Council this week.
Half of the residents of Routt County did not fill out the forms on their own, leaving the county short of the Census target of 70 percent mail-in response. The response rate was highest in Hayden, where 67 percent of the households mailed in their questionnaires. The number in Steamboat was 47 percent. Oak Creek and Yampa households showed up with response rates of 49 and 57 percent, respectively.
Census takers must attempt to conduct personal interviews with households that did not return printed forms by mail.
The current "non-response follow-up" is expected to be complete by early July, if not sooner, White said.
"We're targeting to be finished in about the third week of June," he said.
Beyond that date, the final effort to count every head in the county will take place over the first two weeks in August.
Councilwoman Arianthtettner is herself a Census employee this spring. She told her fellow council members the local office is working closely with property management companies to help ensure people who live in Steamboat's many condominiums get counted.
"Every time we count someone new, I say to myself 'cha-ching.'" Stettner said.
Her reference to the sound of a cash register is a reflection of the fact that the federal government uses Census numbers to apportion federal funds flowing back to local governments.
The Census Bureau emphasizes that information it collects is held in the strictest confidence; the Internal Revenue Service for example, cannot obtain information from the Census Bureau.
Different households receive one of two different Census forms the short form or the long form. One in six households will be asked to fill out the long form.
The short form asks whether the housing unit is owned or rented, name, sex, age, relationship to household, Hispanic origin and race.
The long form asks many more questions. In the category of "social characteristics," it poses questions about marital status, birth date and place, education, ancestry, military service and disabilities.
Under the heading of economic characteristics, the long form seeks information about employment status and income. It asks questions about the physical characteristics of a family's housing, including the number of rooms, plumbing and kitchen facilities, heating fuel, telephone and vehicles available.
The long form also asks respondents for information about the value of occupants' homes and their monthly cost.
The Census Bureau expects it will not take as long to answer its form this time around.
For Census 2000, it should take about 10 minutes to complete the short form and 38 minutes for the long form.
Growth is perhaps the most talked about issue in Routt County, and the 2000 Census should establish the facts behind the trends. The earliest Census figures will be made available to states for use in congressional redistricting.
Other data will start being made available to the public beginning in June 2001 and continuing through September 2003.
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