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The count is on
Census forms expected in the mail soon
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The push is on for Effingham County citizens to be counted.

Census officials are trying to get the word out about the upcoming Census, said Lauren Lewis with the Census Bureau’s Savannah office.

“This is a big, big Census for Georgia,” she said. “Effingham County is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. You are on the radar.”

Based on projections, Georgia could gain one or two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The state has 13 Congressional districts, and the number of members of the U.S. House is set at 435.

“That translates into millions of dollars,” Lewis said.

The state received $400 million in federal money based on the Census, she added.

With the last decennial Census, county residents mailed back 67 percent of the Census forms delivered to homes.

“That’s pretty high,” Lewis said of the mailback rate. “Effingham County had a good Census in 2000.”

Some counties in the state had mailback rates as low as 41 percent, Lewis said. The goal, Lewis said, is to have a mailback rate of 72 percent.

“You’ve got the kind of community here where you can make that happen,” she said.

Churches and grassroots organizations are instrumental in getting the word out about people filling out and returning the Census forms.

“It is the biggest peacetime effort so far in the United States,” Lewis said.

Forms will be in the mail, likely beginning March 15. Census officials ask that they be returned by April 1. If the address on a form is wrong, residents are asked to cross out the wrong address, write in the correct address, fill out the Census and return it. If residents get a second form and have filled one out already, they are asked to write on the form they have completed a form for that address and send it back to the Census Bureau.

Those who do not get a Census form by March 25 are asked to visit County Clerk Patrice Crawley for a form. Forms, however, should not be filled out in Crawley’s office.

Census takers will make home visits beginning May 1. But Census takers will not enter someone’s home unless asked to do so and their hours of operation will be from around 4:30-8:30 p.m., Lewis said.

Census workers who will make home visits in Effingham will be Effingham residents, Lewis said. There will be about 250 Census workers in the county and about 1,000 in the 10-county area.

Lewis added that all the personal information on the Census is confidential and won’t be shared with other federal agencies.