Census workers double- checking facts

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Census workers are in the last phase of collecting and verifying data before the report’s Dec. 31 release date, officials said Monday.

Census takers across the nation have finished the door-to-door follow-up operations and have entered into the quality assurance phase, in which a census worker will contact select households around the country.

“We are in the quality assurance phase and the first official date will be released Dec. 31, 2010,” Pamela Page-Bellis, regional senior media specialist for the Atlanta Regional Census Center said.

“We need (residents’) continued cooperation as we continue to collect and verify information.”

Part one of this phase, which is the coverage follow-up operation, will be conducted until Aug. 13.

“During non-responsive follow-up, we visited 48 million households that did not return their forms,” she said. “Now we are conducting quality assurance measures.”

In addition, Bellis said Census workers will be double checking answers that need clarification by contacting residentes either in person or over the phone.

A vacant or delete housing check began last week and will continue through Aug. 25.

“Vacant/delete is where we revisit any housing unit marked as being vacant or not existing on April 1,” Bellis said.

Beginning Aug. 6 and continuing through Sept. 3, Census workers will conduct a field verification of addresses to check for discrepancies in addresses.

“At the same time, we are also checking about 5 percent of every enumerator’s work to be sure they followed all procedures and the information they collected is accurate,” Bellis said.

Bellis said the 2010 Census is currently on schedule and significantly under budget but is not fully completed.

Bellis said the first data released on Dec. 31 will be the official national and state population counts, which are used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Some states will likely gain or lose seats in the U.S. House of Representatives,” she said.

Thus far, Bellis said the projections she has seen do not foresee Alabama gaining any seats in the House; however, neighboring states of Florida and Georgia could gain seats.

Bellis said the Census Bureau will release more detailed data to help states redraw congressional, state and local legislative district boundaries, in a process called redistricting.

Bellis also cautioned against potential scams.

“Remember, we do not ask for your Social Security number, personal banking or credit information such as account numbers and pass codes,” she said.

“And, we will never solicit or accept money. These are warning signs, if you experience anything like this, and you should immediately contact local law enforcement.”