One of the larger “Census Memes” out there is that conservatives are so “anti-government,” that they are not sending in their Census forms. The idea — pushed heavily by many left-wing websites and blogs because of comments by Reps. Ron Paul and Michelle Bachmann — was that “the teabaggers were going to cost themselves in the House” with the loss of seats by an incorrect count.
Most of this is just anecdotal evidence, but its juicy enough that it has been picked up by the mainstream press.
Well, that may not be the case at all. Early numbers of Census are out, and the worst place in the country: Chicago.
Chicago households have one of the lowest rates of returning Census forms by mail, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Nationally, 50 percent of households had mailed back forms as of Tuesday, according to a release from the nureau. But in Chicago, the mail participation rate is only 36 percent.
“We’re concerned about the relatively low response from Chicago,” Census Director Robert Groves said in the release. “Every household that fails to send back their census form by mail must be visited by a census taker starting in May — at a significant taxpayer cost. The easiest and best way to be counted is to fill out and return your form by mail.”
According to the Census Bureau Web site, as of Wednesday, the participation rate in Cook County was 43 percent; in DuPage County 56 percent; in Will County 57 percent; in Lake County 55 percent; in McHenry County,60 percent; and in Lake County, Ind. the rate was 48 percent and in Porter County, Ind., 56 percent.
In 2000, 58 percent of Chicago households returned their forms by mail, the release said. The national rate in 2000 was 72 percent.
Another person blowing up the “Red Staters-Census Meme” is liberal number-cruncher Nate Silver, who runs the numbers at 538.com.