72% of America’s Households Mail Back Their 2010 Census Forms How Does Your Own Community Measure Up?

Important Advice for LGBT Households when Census Takers Come to your Door

April 27, 2010 (Washington DC) – This week, the U.S. Census made it official that over 7 out of 10 (72%) of all American households have responded and mailed back their completed 2010 Census forms – roughly on par with the mail-in participation results by this date in the 2000 Census.  Beginning Saturday, May 1, thousands of Census representatives will ask the rest of us to complete their forms too.

Reviewing the 2000 Census just ten years ago, we learned that same-sex couples actually live in 99.8% of all counties in the United States – and much more.  As Dr. Lee Badgett, Research Director at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, notes, “Census data have done more to make LGBT families and their needs visible than any other source of data we have.”

In the 2000 U.S. Census, for instance, according to Dr. Gary Gates with the Williams Institute, we also learned the top 10 U.S. metropolitan areas for the highest proportions of same-sex coupled households (when compared with all coupled households) included:

San Francisco, CA
Oakland, CA
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Austin-San Marcos, TX
New York, NY
Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
Albuquerque, NM
Atlanta, GA
Jersey City, NJ

Now that we know how much it matters, how does your own community stack up among leaders in 2010 Census participation rates?  How does your hometown or zip code compare with others?  For participation rates at the state, county and even the zip code level, take a look at http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/

Knowing the importance of this year’s Census count, especially with greater emphasis on counting same-sex coupled households – keep in mind, that the next critical phase of the 2010 Census begins next week when thousands of Census trackers go door to door to find the 45 million households still left uncounted, including LGBT households.

In this next critical phase, here are the top 5 things you should know when a Census taker comes to your door starting Saturday, May 1:

  • First, responding to the Census is required under federal law, and it is in fact, mandated by the U.S. Constitution.
  • Second, your answers are absolutely private and protected under Federal law.  It is illegal for the Census or anyone to share your personal information with anyone else or any other government agency under the penalty of fines and even prison.
  • Third, when someone knocks, ask for official Census identification, which a representative will display around their neck in plain view.
  • Fourth, remember when asked for your information by the Census representative at your door, they cannot reveal any personal information about any respondent or household or face penalties up to 5 years in jail and/or $250,000 fine.  Your information is yours alone.
  • Fifth, Census takers will visit local homes up to 3 times and make up to 3 phone calls to record information for this year’s Census.  If there is no answer, the Census taker leaves a door hanger, featuring a phone number – to allow you to call the number to schedule a visit when most convenient.

For more background generally on the 2010 Census, please also visit www.2010census.gov.  Be sure to visit www.ourfamiliescount.org for details specifically for LGBT households – with questions and answers found there in both English and Spanish.

To stay connected on popular social networks, you may also find Our Families Count on Facebook, and feel free to follow on Twitter (twitter.com/rfamiliescount), or check out MySpace (myspace.com/ourfamiliescount).

The Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy (www.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute) advances law and public policy through rigorous, independent research and scholarship, and disseminates its work through a variety of education programs and media to judges, legislators, lawyers, other policy makers and the public.

Our Families Count (www.ourfamiliescount.org) is an entirely voluntary public education campaign launched in fall 2009. This campaign represents a collaborative effort by leaders and community organizers across the LGBT and ally spectrum in America. Our partnership website is maintained by Bilerico Media which also is the proud owner and donor of the domain.  The campaign has been endorsed by over 140 of the nation’s leading LGBT advocacy and resource organizations, business leaders and academic institutions.  While LGBT community leaders and groups will advocate on many public policy issues, this campaign takes no position on specific issues or questions.

For more information on this year’s Census, please visit:
www.census.gov
www.ourfamiliescount.org
www.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute

To Endorse the Campaign Visit:
www.ourfamiliescount.org/join

Our Families Count Campaign Media Contact:
Bob Witeck
202-887-0500 ext. 19
media@ourfamiliescount.org

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