Okanogan County’s response to census was lowest in state

OKANOGAN COUNTY – As of April 9 Okanogan County had the lowest response to the U.S. Census and there are just two days left to act by mail, according to the U.S. Census Office.

While the mail-in deadline of April 16 fast approaches, only 46 percent of the people in Okanogan County had responded by last Friday, with a high of 71 percent responding in Tonasket and a low of 31 percent in Conconully. As of last week 63 percent in Riverside and 62 percent in Omak had filled out their census, making them among the highest. People living in Winthrop (40%), Oroville (47%), Pateros (47%), Brewster (49%) and Okanogan (58%) were among those on the low end of filling out their census questionnaires. Unincorporated areas under county jurisdiction also contributed to the undercount.

“If we can get persons to respond through the mail, we spend 49 cents per household versus an average of $57 per household by having someone knock on your door,” said William Waken with the 2010 Census Bureau.

“There are toll free numbers to call for those persons who have not received or lost their questionnaire. They can call 1-866-872-6868 or 1-866-928-2010,” he added.

Personal visits to non-responding households begin May 1. Households have until April 16 to mail back their form, as the Census Bureau must begin preparing to train temporary census workers to gather census responses in person from households that did not mail back their forms.

As of last Monday the numbers had changed slightly and Pend Oreille County had the lowest response in the state. The national mail back participation rate stood at 65 percent. Washington State is on pace with the national average at 65 percent. King, Pierce, Snohomish, Lewis and Yakima counties have 65 percent as well. Counties with the highest participation rates were Jefferson (74%), Clallum (72%), Asotin (69%), Island (69%) and Skagit (69%). Lagging behind were Ferry (48%), Okanogan (47%) and Pend Oreille (46%) counties.

People may also call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Center hotlines for help seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time. Starting today, households can call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Centers and complete the survey over the phone. The phone numbers are: English: 1-866-872-6868, Spanish: 1-866-928-2010, Chinese: 1-866-935-2010, Korean: 1-866-955-2010, Russian: 1-866-965-2010, Vietnamese: 1-866-945-2010, TDD (hearing impaired): 1-866-783-2010.

All census responses are confidential. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ individually identifiable answers with anyone, including tribal housing authorities, other federal agencies and law enforcement entities.

The following are 50 ways the 2010 Census

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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