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1/19/2010 1:03:00 PM
Census 2010
Census to be conducted using update/leave process in March

Patrick Whitehurst
Associate Grand Canyon News Editor

The 2010 census will soon be making the rounds in the Grand Canyon, Tusayan area and census officials said they plan to use the "update/leave" process in order to make an accurate count of residents in these areas.

The update/leave process is scheduled to begin March 1, according to Ellie Foster with the Flagstaff census office. She said update/leave is used in areas where residents do not have "city-style" addresses, meaning those that would allow delivery of the census via regular postal mail.

"Enumerators will hand deliver questionnaires to residents and verify their address to make corrections, by either adding addresses that had been missed, or deleting addresses that no longer exist," Foster said in an e-mail interview Jan. 14. "Respondents will be responsible to return completed questionnaires in the mail. Those individuals who do not return their questionnaires in the mail will be followed-up with a visit by an enumerator beginning in mid-April. Enumerators will be required to make six attempts to visit a housing unit and talk to someone."

Foster added that accurate census information is important, as the number of residents in a certain area play a big factor in determining federal funding for local and state entities. In a time of recession, those numbers can be particularly important when it comes to equitable funding for available funds. Census figures are also used to determine the number of congressional seats for the area in question, Foster said.

"Census data provides a statistical account of current and projected indicators for economic and demographic interpretation and planning," Foster said, adding that local census workers are employed whenever possible.

"It is always best to have local enumerators who can work in their own communities; cooperation from respondents is more favorable when the interface can be done with someone who lives in their own community or neighborhood. Planning ahead will allow us to make sure geographic challenges can be met by using four-wheel drive vehicles if necessary to reach remote areas, and by preparing enumerators with proper training," Foster said.

Quality control is assured through various checks and balances, with follow-ups to ensure respondent information.

"In some operations it is done in the field by a QC enumerator, and in other operations it is done from the office via telephone interview," Foster said. "There is a random selection of re-interviews flagged by our Operations Control System; this information is matched to data from the initial questionnaire and compared. If the data cannot be matched, further investigation is done by clerks to determine reasons. Corrective action is taken immediately."

When it comes to the Grand Canyon area, certain geographic factors can make gathering census figures more difficult, but not impossible, Foster said.

"There are the obvious geographic challenges like accessing Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Canyon, as well as the Group Quarter housing for park employees," she said. "Much of the Flagstaff Local Census area is rural in nature and therefore the Canyon challenges are not much different from the rest. The Havasupai Tribal land has posed somewhat of a challenge because of its location, but tribal leaders are offering cooperative support to help us get the job done. We will test and hire as many local residents as we can to help us achieve an accurate 2010 Census."

Questionnaire Assistant Centers and Be Counted sites will be located throughout the Flagstaff area. A Questionnaire Assistance Center will also be located at the Grand Canyon Community Recreation Center, located at 2 Mohave Street. The Grand Canyon Questionnaire Assistance Center will be open Monday through Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. beginning March 1.

"Questionnaire assistant centers will be staffed, community-based sites where assistance is available for filling out questionnaires for individuals who may need language assistance, have physical challenges or low literacy skills, or perhaps because they did not receive a questionnaire in the mail. Questionnaires are mailed back by respondents," Foster said. "Be Counted Sites are not staffed and are a place where questionnaires will be available in six languages with instruction provided in 59 languages. Questionnaires are mailed back by respondents."

For more information on the 2010 census, visit their Web site at

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