Census uses Google maps to show participation rates

March 24, 2010 5:59:16 AM PDT
The Census Bureau is rolling out new interactive Google maps showing 2010 Census participation rates. The maps provide daily updates for residents in Chicago to encourage community participation and friendly competition. March 15-17th, households throughout the nation received their 2010 Census forms. The forms are one of the shortest in history, containing just 10 questions and taking about 10 minutes to complete. Participation in the census is mandated by law for everyone living in the United States, and the public is encouraged to mail back their 2010 Census forms. The mail participation rate for the nation in 2000 was 72 percent. For every 1 percent increase in the national participation rate by mail, the Census Bureau can save taxpayers $85 million by not having to send census takers door to door to households that failed to return the census form. If every household mailed back its 2010 Census form, the cost of taking the census would be reduced by $1.5 billion.

As a way of encouraging prompt responses, the Census Bureau has partnered with Google Maps and Google Earth for the Take 10 Challenge" to display daily participation rates for every community in the nation. Starting March 24th, residents in Chicago will be able to gauge where their community stands in the 2010 Census mailback rate by checking for daily updates at This interactive map will be updated everyday at 4:00 PM EST and will give users the opportunity to step inside census operations, allowing anyone to see whether their community is keeping up with the nation or with their own performance in 2000. From within the map, users can also download and imbed on their own Web sites a rate tracker for whichever geographies they are interested in tracking. Once imbedded on the user's Web site, the rates automatically update daily.

2010 Census data will be used to apportion congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year and to make decisions about what community services to provide. The 2010 Census questionnaire will be one of the shortest in U.S. history and consists of 10 questions, taking about 10 minutes to complete. Strict confidentiality laws protect the respondents and the information they provide.

Find out more at http://2010census.gov/