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Blog Category: 2010 Census

Secretary Locke Commends the Nation’s Strong Participation in the 2010 Census as Final Numbers Come In

Census 2010 logoSecretary Locke congratulated the nation today on its strong participation in the 2010 Census after the U.S. Census Bureau released the final mail participation rate of 74 percent, matching the final mail participation rate achieved in the 2000 Census. More than 22 states, 1,553 counties, and 278 cities and other geographies met or exceeded their 2000 Census participation rates. 

“I’d like to thank the American people for their cooperation and participation in the 2010 Census,” Locke said. “With their help, we were able to match the participation rates of 2000 in a time of declining survey participation and save taxpayer money by reducing the need for costly door-to-door follow up.”  

America’s strong mail participation is part of the reason the U.S. Census Bureau was able to announce $1.6 billion in 2010 Census operational savings in August.  More than 250,000 partner organizations and a far-reaching communications campaign helped alert people across the country about the importance of mailing back their 2010 Census form.

Find your area’s final mail participation rate on the 2010 Census’s interactive “Take 10” Map at http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/2010textview.php.   Release  |  Census release

Secretary Locke Announces $1.6 Billion in 2010 Census Savings

Secretary Locke gestures with his hands on podium

Effective public outreach campaign and careful management save taxpayer dollars

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced today that the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau is returning $1.6 billion in 2010 Census operational savings.

In the first full year of Census management by Obama administration officials and in a time of tightened federal resources, the Census came in 22 percent under budget. The savings occurred primarily because contingency funding set aside for disasters or major operational failures was not tapped and because the Census questionnaire mail-back response rate and workforce productivity across field operations both beat expectations.

In the years leading up to the 2010 Census, operations had been beset by a costly IT systems development. Upon taking office in 2009, Locke and Census Bureau Director Robert Groves heard warnings from Congress and Census watchdogs about the many high-risk operational challenges ahead and about the numerous systems failures in the years preceding the 2010 count. Importantly, response rates to surveys had been declining for years, and if that trend had held true for this decade’s census, it would have added hundreds of millions to the cost of the door-to-door follow-up effort.

“In early 2009, the 2010 Census was in need of top-notch operational and fiscal management,” Locke said. “The Census is a massive undertaking with great risk for operational problems and cost overruns. We appointed Dr. Groves to execute the 2010 Census with a directive to run a successful, non-partisan Census that counted everyone. Just as importantly, the President and I directed Dr. Groves to run a comprehensive review of the Census plan and find ways to cut costs and enumerate the population more efficiently. Over the last 17 months, we have worked tirelessly to ensure American tax dollars were being spent wisely.”  Read more   |  en español  |  RemarksWhite House blog  |  Census Director's blog