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Google to help track 2010 Census response rates

By Ed O'Keefe

A screen shot from the new Google-Census Bureau partnership. (Google/U.S. Census)

Updated 6:07 p.m. ET
The U.S. Census Bureau announced Wednesday that about 20 percent of census forms have been completed and sent back one week since they arrived in American mailboxes. Those figures suggest this year's census is set to match or surpass participation rates from 2000, officials said.

In an effort to drive those numbers up higher, the Census Bureau and Google have teamed up to track response rates in real time.

The agency will provide daily updates to the search engine, which will display the results using the Google Maps and Google Earth programs. Interested users will be able to track the percentage of census forms returned for each city, county and state by visiting

While there, you can grab code for a widget that will track a specific geographic location through late April. (See the box above.)

The effort is partly competitive, but also a serious attempt to essentially shame people to return their forms by April 1 in order to drive up their area's response rates. (But will anyone even notice or care?)

Taxpayers can expect to save $85 million for each 1 percent of people that return their forms, the agency said. The Census Bureau would have to hire fewer census takers to knock on doors and get answers if more people return them in time.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | March 24, 2010; 1:17 PM ET
Categories:  Census  
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No 2010 Census Forms to Zip Code 31088 as of 5:00PM 24 March. I cannot send in what I do not get in the mail. We have a low participation rate according to the Google-Census tracker. No forms is why.

Posted by: davidhoffman1062 | March 24, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The Census form says specifically that the census must count every person living in the United States on April 1, 2010. How will be the people is born or dies between now and April 1 will be counted?

Posted by: scaramouch | March 24, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

sorry bachman was right, i'm not sending mine in to protest the hillbilly skank neuggenbauer. if enough democrats boycott , this district might end up with a better chance to go democratic.screw texas i hope the census reports fifty people living in this sh@t state, and i was born here.

Posted by: trjohnson8890122 | March 24, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Wow, so Google has insinutated itself unnecessarily into yet another area of our lives.

Posted by: Wallenstein | March 25, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse reported in 2008 that 90% of Google political contributions by Google employees went to Obama. A political reward...

Posted by: Rockvillers | March 25, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I will be surprised if there is a good response after the steady drumbeat by Michell Bachman, Palin,Blackburn, Boehner, McConnell and other republicans claiming the census is a communist plot to enslave Americans, send people to re-education camps, steal their DNA, implant tracking chips and take away their guns.

Posted by: The-Historian | March 25, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

scaramouch, they don't count. They guess.

Posted by: corrections | March 25, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

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