Many homes lack census forms

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – In the midst of a national campaign to complete the 2010 census, some Northeast Mississippi residents say they never got their official questionnaire.
And they want to know why.
According to U.S. Census Bureau spokeswoman Kat Smith, it’s not happening just in Northeast Mississippi, but across the country. Some 120 million forms were mailed out last month, and some people just didn’t receive them.
“There are a lot of factors that may be involved,” Smith told the Daily Journal, which received more than a dozen calls from residents worried they might not get counted.
“It might be people who live in new subdivisions, people who get their mail by P.O. boxes,” Smith said. “We don’t deliver to P.O. boxes at all.”
The census is a once-a-decade population count of the entire United States. Data collected helps distribute some $400 billion in federal dollars to different areas.
Smith said the U.S. Census Bureau will mail replacement questionnaires to households from which it hasn’t yet heard back. And she urged people to wait a little longer.
A prerecorded message on the census’ telephone help line also asked people to wait. It said to call back only if the form still hadn’t arrived by April 12.
The number is (866) 872-6868.
People also can get “Be Counted” forms at local public libraries. The forms are identical to ones the U.S. Census Bureau mails except residents must manually fill in their address.
Most, but not all, public libraries have the forms, Smith said.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.