Census participation rate soars

Published 3:43 pm Thursday, May 13, 2010

So far, Shelby County citizens have done an excellent job filling the census out and mailing it back.

The county’s census mail participation rate, the percentage of forms mailed back by households receiving them, was at 77 percent as of April 27 — higher than both Alabama’s rate of 70 percent and the national rate of 72 percent.

In the 2000 census, the county’s participation rate was 71 percent.

This year, Indian Springs Village has the best participation rate at 84 percent, followed by Chelsea at 82 percent, Helena at 81 percent and Wilsonville at 80 percent.

Chelsea, Helena and Wilsonville all had lower rates of participation in the 2000 census, with Chelsea at 65 percent, Helena at 79 percent and Wilsonville at 60 percent.

County Services Manager Reggie Holloway said while participation rates are higher countywide, he’s seen the biggest increase in the smaller cities and towns.

“The County Commission invited many of the smaller cities and towns to become a partner in its Complete Count Committee,” he said in an e-mail. “The partnership between the county and smaller cities and towns resulted in better collaboration, better use of resources and improved communications in making our residents aware of the importance of participating in the 2010 Census.”

Holloway said the participation goal for the county was to do at least 5 percent better than the previous census.

Since that goal has already been reached, the Complete Count Committee is now striving to reach the internal goal of 80 percent participation countywide.

He said citizens in Helena and Pelham have informed him of census takers visiting houses in those communities.

Holloway said the committee is encouraging citizens to cooperate with census takers.

“We will continue to make a push for citizens to complete the census via the door-to-door census enumerators,” he said. “We want to achieve and encourage the highest participation we can achieve.”

Participation rates for the rest of the county are as follows: Westover, 79 percent; Calera, 79 percent; Pelham, 78 percent; Alabaster, 78 percent; Columbiana, 76 percent; Hoover, 75 percent; Vincent, 73 percent; Montevallo, 73 percent; Harpersville, 72 percent; and Wilton, 65 percent.