Officials Warn: Communities That Do Not Return Census Forms Risk Losing Vital Federal Funds

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STATE – Communities in New Jersey are at risk of losing millions of dollars in federal funds every year for the next ten years because they are not mailing back their 2010 Census forms, according to Census officials.

“April 1 is Census Day, but it is not a deadline,” said Lester A. Farthing, the U.S. Census Bureau’s New York Regional Director.  “If you have not mailed back your form, it’s not too late.  Fill it out and mail it back today to help your community get its fair share of the more than $400 billion distributed by the federal government each year.”

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Completed forms can be returned up until the third week of April.  After that, enumerators will be visiting households who still have not mailed their forms past the third week of April.

The current national participation rate is 54%, but areas in New Jersey have rates well below the national average and leaders should be worried. The Census Bureau is calling on partner organizations, trusted voices and local elected officials to rally their communities and help get the word out: If you are not counted, your community will lose important and federal funding for education, health care and essential community services.

Mailing back the forms also saves money.  Every percentage point increase in mail participation saves approximately $85 million in federal funds.

New Jersey participation rates are drastically low in Belleville, East Orange, Elizabeth, Englewood, Irvington, Jersey City, Newark, New Brunswick, Orange, Passaic, Paterson and South Montclair, the Eastern section of Hackensack. Communities north of Jersey City in Hudson County are also seriously behind in their mail backs.

Questions about the form can be answered by calling the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance (TQA) toll-free line, which can respond in the following languages: English (1-866-872-6868), Spanish (1-866-928-2010), Chinese (1-866-935-2010), Vietnamese (1-866-945-2010), Korean (1-866-955-2010) and Russian (1-866-965-2010).  Forms are available in those languages as well.

In addition, Questionnaire Assistance Centers, which can be found by going to 2010census.gov, provide assistance in 59 languages.

Replacement forms are being mailed to targeted areas from April 1-10.  After April 12, households that have not received a form may call the TQA numbers above to request a form.  Those who feel they were not counted can also pick up a form at Be Counted sites, which are open until April 19 and can be found by going to 2010census.gov.


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