Map Shows Census Compliance

I read several government blogs and aside from this head cold have spent very little time recently under a rock. Therefore I know that the 2010 census forms will be mailed this month. Despite all the TV commercials and the Web hype, the US government wants to make AB-SO-LUTE-LY sure; I got a letter today letting me know that soon the census forms would be mailed.

Maybe this constant stream of reminders is making you wonder about the 2000 census. How many people sent in the census last time? According to a press release, the census completion compliance in 2000 was 72%. But that tells you only the compliance for the whole country. To see how your community did, you’ll have to check out the new map available at

The map defaults to the entire US and uses shading to show the percentage of compliance across all the states. But enter a city name or a zip code, and you can zoom all the way down to “local” level to see how people responded to the census on a neighborhood level.

I started with my old standby 90210 and ended up zoomed down around West Hollywood. The shadings at this level show how different compliance percentages can be even on a block-by-block basis.

The data showing now is for the 2000 census, but the Census Bureau has announced that once the census forms are mailed, there will be daily updates showing compliance for the 2010 census.

This is an interesting tool though sometimes the map data loads a little slowly, especially at the neighborhood level. It also begs the question of how this technology could be used elsewhere. I mean, it’s great to see graphs of how the citizenry is participating in the democratic process. How about the same mapping technology for individual states, to show how many votes representatives were present for, how many constituent communications were responded to, etc.?

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