Census reply rate is 74%, same as in '00

By Carol Morello
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 22, 2010

The Census Bureau announced Thursday that 74 percent of U.S. households mailed in their 2010 census forms, the same as in 2000.

Census officials said they considered the return rate an achievement in light of declining participation in public opinion surveys of all kinds. About 47 million households that did not mail in their questionnaires on time had to be visited by census takers, a lengthy and expensive endeavor.

Virginia's response rate improved to 78 percent from 76 percent. At 76 percent, Maryland matched its rate for 2000.

In the area, the District was one of the few jurisdictions that showed an improvement, with 72 percent responding, up from 69 percent a decade ago.

In most cities and counties in the region, the response rate fell, even though it remained above the national average.

Fairfax County went down the most, from 84 percent in the preceding census to 78 percent this year. Montgomery and Loudoun counties declined to 80 percent, from 82 percent. Prince George's County went down slightly to 74 percent, from 75 percent in 2000. Both Arlington and Prince William counties declined to 77 percent, from 78 percent in 2000.

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