As of April 27, Baltimore City census participation was 66 percent. Two weeks prior, the mayor congratulated residents for a 61 percent return rate, beating the 2000 census return rate by one percentage point. Still, city officials are pushing for all residents to return their forms.

“We had the lowest turnout of any major city in the country in 2000,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. “That’s embarrassing, but I know we can do better. We were at the bottom of the list last time; we want to be at the top of the list this time.”

The Census Bureau counted 18,000 more forms turned in this year than in 2000. On May 1, census takers began going door-to-door to collect the rest of the forms from residents who didn’t mail it back.

“That’s going to go on until the end of July,” said Seema Iyer, director of the Baltimore City Complete Count Campaign. “The Bureau has told us their efforts to knock on doors have been going very well. They told us they’re hitting all their targets to get them to fill out the forms.”

As of March 31, the majority of Baltimore City had a census participation rate of 38- 47 percent. Communities with the lowest returns ranged from 12- 37 percent. The next official count will take place in December, and redistricting lines will be drawn in March 2011 based on that count. Nationally, about 635,000 census takers are canvassing neighborhoods to follow up with households that either didn’t mail back their form or didn’t receive one. Through the end of July, an estimated 48 million addresses will be visited. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves urges residents who have not mailed their forms in to answer their door when census takers come by.

“America’s had a very successful first half of the 2010 census where more than 72 percent of the nation’s households mailed back their census forms,” Groves said in a statement. “But achieving a complete and accurate census requires us to now go door-to-door to count all the remaining households we’ve not heard back from.
Rawlings-Blake acknowledged that many residents lack trust in the government to keep the information they release to the Census Bureau private, but emphasized that the forms are confidential and extremely beneficial.

“It means so much,” she said. “It means money for our community, strength in Annapolis, how City Council lines are drawn. We need people to understand that it’s important.”

As of April 20, 18 states surpassed their 2000 census participation rate, but Maryland was not one of them. Information gathered from the census is used to apportion congressional seats to states, and will determine how much of the federal government’s $400 billion in funding will be awarded to state and local governments for community services such as school, hospitals, and roadways.

“I am proud that Baltimore’s 2010 census grass-roots effort to reach more people has been a success, but I know we can do better,” Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. “I hope you take 10 minutes to fill it out.”

As of March 31, the majority of Baltimore City had a census participation rate of 38- 47 percent. Communities with the lowest returns ranged from 12- 37 percent. These neighborhoods are currently the target of door-to-door census-takers.

12% -37%
Broadway/Clifton Park
Greenmount West
Curtis Bay
Highlandtown
Druid Hill Park/ Reservoir Hill

38% -47%
Cherry Hill
Curtis Bay
Mondowmin/Hanlon
Charles Village
Howard Park/Forest Park
Coldspring Lane/ Hillen Rd.

 

MelanieR.Holmes

AFROStaffWriter