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Vashon census return rate approaches 2000 numbers

As of Friday, April 9, more than two-thirds of Island residences had returned their 2010 census questionnaires, approaching the Island’s final participation rate in the 2000 census, according to demographer Alice Larson.

Data from the U.S. Census Web site showed on Friday that 68 percent of Islanders on north Vashon and 72 percent of Islanders on south Vashon and Maury Island had returned their census forms. In 2000, 79 percent of north Vashon and 78 percent of south Vashon and Maury returned their census forms or filled them out with the assistance of a census taker.

Vashon’s census return rates as of Friday were above the Washington state and national averages — both at 65 percent.

Those who have not returned their census questionnaires will receive a replacement questionnaire before census takers start knocking on doors next month.

“I am very pleased that we seem to be increasing our participation rate all the time,” Larson said. “The south end is only 6 percent below our final mail-back participation rate for 2000, and the north end is 11 percent below. I think all our work is paying off on reaching out to particular groups and in informing people who only have post office boxes where they can get a questionnaire (at the post office or the library). We have handed out over 500 forms, mostly to people who only get their mail from post office boxes.”

The U.S. Census is performed once every 10 years and aims to count every person in the country on April 1, Census Day. Data from the census is used to allocate federal funding to different regions. Census data is also used to determine how many representatives each state will receive, and Washington state is on the cusp of receiving an additional member of the House of Representatives based on population growth.

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