Census 2010 data collection wrapping up in Northwest Colorado | SteamboatToday.com

Census 2010 data collection wrapping up in Northwest Colorado

Western Slope office manager expects government project to be completed by mid-August

Blythe Terrell

— Census 2010 work is wrapping up in Northwest Colorado, and the region's manager said the majority of data collection work should be finished by mid-August.

"We're just winding down our nonresponse follow-up operation," said Kathleen DuHamel, local Census office manager for the office in Grand Junction. "We are over 99 percent complete right now."

DuHamel's office handles data collection in western Colo­rado, covering basically everything west of the Continental Divide. The end of the project means the jobs provided by the census are winding down, too. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment released May employment figures Friday, citing an increase in government jobs largely because of the census.

Employment with the census peaked in April and May, DuHamel said, when teams were working to follow up with households that hadn't mailed their census forms. At that point, the Grand Junction office employed about 2,500 people across the region.

"We have about 40 people still actively employed in Steamboat Springs," she said Friday.

Census workers now are finishing the "vacant/delete check," during which they make sure houses that were marked vacant are indeed empty.

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"In an area like yours that had so many second homes, we want to get those off the list so your census participation is as high as possible," DuHamel said.

After that, workers will do a quality control operation, but it's small operation that will involve few employees, she said.

Current response rates weren't yet available. As of April 27, 38 percent of Steamboat Springs' households had participated by mail. The national mail participation rate was 72 percent.

Hayden's mail participation rate was 65 percent, Oak Creek's was 54 percent, Yampa's was 59 percent and Routt County's overall rate was 43 percent.

DuHamel said the census went smoothly in the region.

"It went extremely well," she said. "In fact, we're ahead of schedule for completion."

— To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234 or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com