FLORIDA - Mail Problems Might Be Cause of Low Response to Census Forms in S. FL

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Title: Mail problems might be cause of low response to Census forms in S. Florida

By STEVE FRIESS Sun-Sentinel

Web-posted: 10:33 p.m. Mar. 29, 2000

Mail foul-ups might be hindering the U.S. Census Bureau's efforts to garner high response rates to the once-a-decade national survey, to which 45 percent in Palm Beach County and 42 percent in Broward County had responded as of Wednesday night.

The problems are anecdotal, but hundreds of residents in South Florida and across the United States have complained about not receiving the forms, which were mailed out more than two weeks ago.

Dennis Guy of Delray Beach reported few people on his Iris Avenue block have received the survey even though they did get a postcard reminding them to return the form.

The manager of the census office in Pembroke Pines, Bill Nielsen, received eight copies at his Fort Lauderdale home.

The South Florida census spokesman, Jack Curtiss, still hasn't received his.

"When you're dealing with a nationwide effort to send something to 120 million addresses and you've got the post office working with you, there is bound to be some of this," Curtiss explained.

To counter the problem, Census Bureau officials urge folks to call 800-471-9424 to obtain forms. People with access to the Internet can fill out the form online at www.2000.census.gov if they still have the letter sent to them in early March alerting residents that the census form was coming. That letter had a bar code on the back that may be used to respond to the survey online.

Mail troubles might be responsible for low response rates in some areas thus far, although residents have more than two weeks left and many have said they will wait until April to reply.

The form asks how many people are living in their homes as of April 1.

According to figures released Wednesday night, 46 percent of Florida households have responded. Among local cities, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderhill and West Palm Beach were at 35 percent, Hollywood and Delray Beach were at 40 percent, and Boca Raton and Boynton Beach were at 45 percent , and Delray Beach was at 40 percent.Among the higher response rates were Coconut Creek with 52 percent and Cooper City at 56 percent.

The figures will be updated nightly until April 11. The bureau will release a final tally of mail responses on April 18.

Census workers will start going door-to-door to gather information from nonresponding households about April 14.

Steve Friess can be reached at sfriess@sun-sentinel.com or 561-243-6636. Sun-Sentinel.com Questions or comments http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/daily/detail/0,1136,30000000000106864,00.html


-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), March 30, 2000

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