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Posted: May 9, 2010 12:00 a.m.

Census workers visiting homes in person

2010 Census provided about 400 local jobs

Hundreds of U.S. Census workers will be canvassing Newton County neighborhoods until the end of July, in an effort to reach any local address that did not return a 2010 Census form.

Local Census official Gloria Solomon said with the recent employee additions, approximately 400 census workers have been hired to work in Newton County for the Census, creating a temporary influx of much-needed income to local residents.

The Census Bureau estimated that 1.4 million people were hired nationwide to conduct the 2010 Census, and 3.8 million people were hired over the past two years. Door-to-door workers make between $10 and $25 per hour, based on geographic location, the Census Bureau said.

Solomon wasn't able to estimate how many local addresses needed to be visited, but 134 million housing units will be visited nationwide. Newton County had a mail back participation rate of 72 percent, 4 percent lower than the 2000 Census rate of 76 percent.

However, with much greater population numbers in the county, the total number of participants jumped by at least 25,000.

Solomon said census workers will visit addresses during different times of the day, and will leave a door hanger if the resident is not present. The hanger will provide a number that can be called to schedule a time. Workers will visit an address a maximum of six times. The average cost for a census taker to visit an address and collect data is $57 per address.

The highest return rate in the state was Lee County, in southwest-central Georgia, at 83 percent, while Quitman County, on the southwestern border of Georgia, had the lowest participation at 29 percent.

Final 2010 Census results will not be available until late 2010 or early 2011. However, many estimates have been conducted. The highest local estimate is an unofficial calculation from the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, which said Newton County could have as many as 117,229 residents.

However, this is only if all 43,321 residences in Newton County were occupied, which given the high number of foreclosures and vacant homes is clearly not the case. A more likely estimate is around 110,819, said Steve Cumblidge, NEGRC's GIS manager. However, he said he's excited to see the final 2010 results

The lowest estimate was from the Atlanta Regional Commission, which estimated the 2009 population to be only 97,000.

Census data is used to apportion congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to tribal, state and local governments each year and to make decisions about what community services to provide. The 2010 Census form is one of the shortest in U.S. history, consisting of 10 questions, taking about 10 minutes to complete. Strict confidentiality laws protect the respondents and the information they provide, according to the Census Bureau.


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