Census website maps out rates of return, city by city

The U.S. Census Bureau really, really, really wants everyone to fill out their 2010 Census forms–a process that takes about 10 minutes.¬† So, they’ve gotten creative about finding ways to motivate us. Making the argument that census data is critical¬† in determining how government dollars are allocated among cities, states and regions, the Census Bureau is pitting city vs. city in an on-line competition to see who’s got the highest rates of census-form returns. And they’re making that information available on the Take 10 Challenge Map, which is updated every weekday. As of this posting, Green Township, Ohio has the lead, with a 72% rate of return.

According to the Census Bureau’s website, what they’re measuring is the “mail participation rate:¬† the percentage of forms mailed back by households that received them. The Census Bureau developed this new measure in 2010, in part because of the current economy and higher rates of vacant housing. The rate excludes households whose forms were returned to us by the U.S. Postal Service as ‘undeliverable,’ strongly suggesting the house was vacant.”

At the website, you can see a list of the Top 50, view a map indicating the top participation rates by state, or even enter your zip code to get a reading for your local area. How’s your town doing? Check it out.