Attention civic leaders. If you're concerned about low interest in your communities in the upcoming census count, the U.S. Census Bureau suggests you consult 2000 participation data to see what neighborhoods will likely lag behind this time around. The Bureau makes this easy with a national interactive map that quickly displays participation rates for states, counties and census tracts.
"Participation" refers to the percentage of households who voluntarily return their mail-in questionnaires. This matters a lot to officials because Census workers will have to be sent to any address not returning forms. It's estimated that for every one percent of additional mail participation, taxpayers save $85 million in Census costs.
The participation map tool is color-coded to show how various geographies have performed in the past. In northern California, we see fairly low rates in rural counties, such as Lake, Calaveras, Mono, Plumas and Sierra. In Sacramento, most neighborhoods show healthy participation with the exception of a few tracts in poorer neighborhoods.