Thursday, April 27, 2000

Census going door to door

Workers look for missing forms

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The sound of knuckles rapping on doors will be heard throughout Greater Cincinnati today as thousands of census workers go looking for residents who did not mail in their forms.

        “We are in full swing. We are sending people out to knock on doors,” said Cynthia King, spokeswoman for the Cincinnati office of the U.S. Census Bureau.

        Today is the first day of the last phase, which will run through July 7, of data collecting for Census 2000. Census workers will be calling and visiting residences from which no census questionnaires have been received.

        U.S. Commerce Secretary William Daley said in a state ment that more than 300,000 temporary census workers will be out on the streets doing interviews. He said the army of enumerators comprise “the largest peacetime mobilization in history.”

        The workers are being deployed from 500 local offices, he said.

        Local census officials are still recruiting workers to fill the enumerator jobs.

        Ms. King said the Cincinnati office continues to scramble to hire and train the temporary workers, who

        can make $13.75 per hour. The need for enumerators for the city is high because among Ohio cities, Cincinnati had the second-lowest census mail-back rate at 56 percent. Only Cleveland, at 52 percent, had fewer responses. The national rate of return was 65 percent.

        In the 16 Kentucky counties served by the Covington census office, 1,000 workers will start their door-to-door canvass on Saturday, said Marc Bergman, the census office manager in Covington.

        Pay for Northern Kentucky workers is $11.50 an hour.

        “We'll be hiring and training people to the very end,” Mr. Bergman said.

        The temporary workers, who will be identifiable by a U.S. Department of Commerce ID badge around their necks, will be interviewing residents by asking questions from either the 2000 census' short or long forms. The short form interview is estimated to take about seven minutes, while the long form will take about 30 minutes. One out of seven residences will be interviewed with the long-form questionnaire.

        Cindy Schroeder contributed to this report.


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