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Census participation rates show Funkstown far behind

April 05, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Four days after "Census Day," Funkstown is lagging behind the rest of Washington County in participation rates.

U.S. Census Bureau figures show that as of Monday, most municipalities in the county had a rate between 50 and 70 percent, referring to households that mailed back their forms.

Funkstown was at 21 percent.

Funkstown, like some parts of the county, doesn't have home mail delivery, which kept residents within the town limits from getting Census forms.

The Census Bureau doesn't send forms to post office boxes.

Assistant Mayor Paul Crampton Jr. said Monday he's not concerned yet about the town's low participation rate.

"I just don't think people have received (the forms)," he said.

Crampton said the Census Bureau couldn't distribute forms through post office boxes because not everyone with a box lives in the town.

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The Census Bureau has said it will visit homes where residents didn't return forms. That includes homes that didn't receive a form.

The home-visit period is scheduled to begin May 1.

On March 1, the Census Bureau began dropping off forms in some rural areas.

Sylvia T. Ballinger, a spokeswoman for the bureau, wrote in an e-mail that the only part of Washington County where forms were dropped off was near the Washington-Allegany county border.

The U.S. conducts a census every 10 years to count the population as of April 1. Census data is used in many ways, such as determining federal funding and congressional representation.

The Local Complete Count Committee of Washington County, which is trying to focus the community on responding to the Census, is hosting a "March to the Mailbox" rally Saturday.

It will run from 10 to 11 a.m. at Hagerstown's City Farmers Market at 25 W. Church St.

Sharon Disque, the committee's chairwoman, said prizes will be given away, then participants will march to the post office.

If You Go



What: Washington County Census Rally -- "March to the Mailbox"

When: Saturday, 10 to 11 a.m.

Where: City Farmers Market, 25 W. Church St., Hagerstown

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