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May 25, 2010 > Tri-City has highest mail participation rate for Census 2010

Tri-City has highest mail participation rate for Census 2010

Submitted By Cheryl Golden

Of the top 25 largest cities by population in California, the City of Fremont in Alameda County has the highest 2010 Mail Participation Rate (MPR) at 75 percent. Only five cities in this group matched or surpassed their Census 2000 MPR.

The US Census Bureau sent millions of Census 2010 questionnaires to households, nationwide. The head of each was asked to answer 10 questions for every person in the household and mail the questionnaire to the Census Bureau. Questionnaires were sent to urban-area households with city-style addresses. Census workers personally delivered questionnaires to rural households who were asked to post them to the Census Bureau on completion.

In California, approximately 95 percent of all households received a questionnaire for return mailing. The remaining households will be visited by a census enumerator and are excluded from the count of households receiving a form to mail back.

The Mail Participation Rate (MPR) is the percentage of forms mailed back by households that received them. This new measure was developed partly because of the poor economy and higher rates of vacant housing. It excludes households whose forms were returned by the US Postal Service as "undeliverable," strongly suggesting the house was vacant. The Census Bureau will follow up on such address points to ensure a full count.

Mail participation is significant. The greater the number of questionnaires returned by mail, the fewer census workers required to visit non-responsive households. Each 1 percent increase in the national MPR saves taxpayers $85M. It costs the Census Bureau an average of $57 to send an enumerator to collect information, compared with 42 cents for return-postage.

Census 2010 data will be used to distribute a substantial proportion of federal assistance, particularly grants, over the coming decade. State and local governments stress the importance of best possible count of their population to ensure their fair share of funding.

"City of Fremont staff has done a tremendous amount of outreach and has worked hand-in-hand with community groups across the city to spread the word about Census 2010. All of our partners, including general Census 2010 information, can be viewed at," stated Cheryl Golden.

For more information, visit or call Maya Williams, City of Fremont Management Analyst, on (510) 284-4013 or email

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