Donaldsonville numbers down in 2010 Census

Allison B. Hudson

Almost everyone has heard about the Census, seen a commercial on television, or a radio advertisement, or simply opened the form they have received in the mail.

The 2010 Census is "a short form" census that collects only basic information. Questions regarding age, sex, race, Hispanic or Latino origin, and household relationship are amongst a few questions, and whether your home is owned or rented.

To date, the current rate of return on mailed Census forms for Ascension Parish is 36 percent. According to statistics, that’s the best in the seven parishes Baton Rouge Census region (Ascension, EBR, WBR, West Feliciana, East Feliciana, Iberville and Pointe Coupee).

Ascension is at 36 percent, WBR 33, EBR 32, East Feliciana and Iberville 31, Pointe Coupee 28 and W. Feliciana 23.

However, Donaldsonville is among the bottom five in the regions, tied with St. Francisville at 27 percent.

Return rates on mailed census forms were just over 50 percent in Donaldsonville in the 2000 census.

It is important for residents to mail their forms in; census takers will be going door to door to take the count in person. The issue there is money: the cost of each questionnaire mailed back in to the U.S. Census Bureau is less than 50 cents. The cost of a home visit by a census taker is about $60 per questionnaire.

“It is important for our community to fill out the form and return it in a timely manner,” says Mayor Leroy Sullivan.

Parish President Tommy Martinez says, an accurate count of the citizens in Ascension Parish, in Louisiana and across the United States is crucial to determining whom we are as nation heading into the second decade of the 21st century. Census data will be used to re-draw our Congressional districts, along with districts on the state and local levels.

Perhaps even more importantly, Census data will help determine how some $400 billion in federal funds are distributed each year. That breaks down to about $1,300 per person annually, or $13,000 until the next U.S. Census in 2020.

Based on those numbers, you can easily see how not counting an entire family of five people, for example, would have a big impact on our Parish’s bottom line when it comes to federal dollars. If the funding due Ascension Parish doesn’t come our way, it will certainly be shipped somewhere else.

For questions regarding the 2010 Census call 1-866-872-6868.