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WE census participation up

Those who haven't filled out a census form still have time to do so this week.

But those living in Mahnomen County and parts of the White Earth Reservation are being counted in person.

Instead of mailing census forms to tribal members, the Census Bureau is using the update-numerate process, where Census workers have been going door-to-door for the past three weeks.

"Previous census in the Mahnomen County area was so grossly under counted," White Earth Economic Development Director Dean Johnson said, adding that the 2000 census in that area came in at just a little over 20 percent.

In other neighborhoods, the mail back method brings the White Earth 2010 census participation rate to 44 percent so far, according to the latest figures provided by the U.S. Census.

"We feel pretty good about that and actually those don't seem to be too bad of numbers," Assistant Regional Census Manager Rich Gerdes said. "We're moving right along with it."

White Earth Tribal officials have been actively working to encourage tribal members to fill out census forms.

A complete count committee was formed last year publicizing the 2010 census at various powwows, addresses and other community events.

"We need to have accurate counts of our members, tribal affiliation whether it's the White Earth or another tribe," Johnson said.

Census workers as well as government officials continue to remind residents of the advantages of filling out the forms.

"A lot of federal funding is based on the census results. As far as your tax money being returned to you, is based on what the census is. Also your representation in the U.S. House of Representatives," Gerdes said.

As for Becker County, census participation so far comes in at 65 percent, compared to the 2000 overall rate of 64 percent.

Minnesota's census participation rate is steadily increasing every day, so far at 75 percent, compared to the national rate of 66 percent.

Hubbard County's participation rate is significantly lower at 50 percent, while Clearwater comes in at 64 percent.

Still, due to the increasing amount of publicity the 2010 census received, the overall rate by the end of the process this summer is expected to be higher than the 2000 rate.

"I think we've done a pretty good job working with the tribal lands up there getting the word out and making sure everybody knew about the census and everybody felt part of it," Gerdes said. "Our media program has probably gotten a little more aggressive this time."

For those looking for temporary census jobs, he added that more than 1,000 jobs are still available in the region.

To apply for a census job, call the 2010 Census Jobs Line at 1-866-861-2010.