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Our census response better this time around

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By The Staff

Lancaster County, we’ve done well. As of Thursday, the county’s participation rate in the 2010 Census was 79 percent. That put Lancaster County tied with neighboring York County as the counties in South Carolina with the best census response in 2010.

South Carolina as a whole has done a good job responding to the census. The state’s most-recent participation rate was listed by the U.S. Census Bureau as 73 percent, one point above the national average.

Ten years ago, South Carolina ranked near the bottom in its response to the census. What a difference a decade makes.

Perhaps it’s because state and community leaders have done a better job this time around saying why participation in the census is important. Census results are used to determine the number of seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives, the shape of legislative and local government districts, and how $400 billion in federal funds is distributed annually to communities across America.

South Carolina, as you may know, has experienced an explosion of growth in the last decade. Pre-census estimates show the state gaining a member in Congress because of the new population.

And Lancaster County, you certainly know, has many proposed projects that could use federal funding. That’s why it’s important that we get an accurate headcount with this census.

The 2010 Census isn’t over yet. The second stage of the census just started on May 1 when door-to-door census workers began fanning across the United States. Census workers are now visiting addresses that did not return census forms.

So, if you get a visit from a census worker in the next few weeks, take a few minutes to respond to the his or her questions. But do be alert.

There have been reports of people posing as census workers in some parts of the United States, and these people are up to no good. They are also seeking information that legitimate census workers WILL NOT ask for.

Real U.S. Census Bureau workers will NOT ask for donations, bank account numbers, the amount of money you have in the house, Social Security numbers or credit card numbers.

Real U.S. Census Bureau workers will NOT contact you by e-mail, although they might telephone you in some cases.

Real U.S. Census Bureau workers will NOT ask about citizenship status.

Real U.S. Census Bureau workers wear official identification badges with the words U.S. Department of Commerce, the name of the census taker and the words U.S. Census Bureau on them.

A census taker might also carry a black bag with the words U.S. Census Bureau on it.

Real U.S. Census Bureau workers will provide you with supervisor contact information and/or the local census office telephone number upon request. You can call these telephone numbers to verify that the person at your door is a sworn census employee.

If you are contacted by a phony census worker, please contact the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at  283-4136.