The Craig-Moffat County Complete Count Committee received a national award Thursday for the area’s initial participation rate in the 2010 Census.
Doug Wayland, spokesman for the Denver region of the Census, said the award is part of a “thank you campaign” to acknowledge the support received from local communities in fostering positive Census survey participation rates.
Moffat County had an initial mail-back rate of 63 percent — one of the highest in the region.
Wayland attributed Moffat County’s participation rate to its local complete count committee.
“To conduct the Census, with the magnitude of counting everyone in the country, you can’t do it without local knowledge and local support,” he said.
The complete count committee worked with local, regional and state level Census staff to inform local residents about the importance of participating in the once per decade survey, said Audrey Danner, county commissioner and committee member.
The committee included members of the city and county government as well as other local agencies, Danner said.
Danner said she was pleased the committee’s work was recognized by Census officials.
“They were pleased we worked together as a city and a county and that seemed to be the key to success in their minds, and I agree with them wholeheartedly,” she said. “We saw that was a much more efficient way of working together than each trying to do it on our own.”
However, Danner said she is “surprised at the number of people that are concerned about giving the federal government” their Census information.
“I know there are many ways that the federal government already has that information,” she said.
Committee member Jennifer Riley said the group was also tasked with informing the usually “more difficult to count” parts of the community about the importance of responding to the Census.
“We are in a rural community with a population that is typically not a highly-responsive population,” she said. “So, the fact that we were over 50 percent … (and the) initial response (was) 63 percent, I think is good.”
Moffat County had the highest initial Census mail-back participation rate of its neighboring counties.
Routt County had an initial mail-back rate of 43 percent and Rio Blanco had 55 percent, according to information provided by the Census.
Craig had an initial mail-back rate of 67 percent, while Steamboat Springs had 38 percent. Dinosaur had a 32-percent initial mail-back rate, while Rangely had 54 percent and Meeker 62 percent.
The state received an initial mail-back percentage rate of 70 percent, while the nation as a whole had a 72-percent initial mail-back rate.
Census forms were delivered by hand in Moffat County in the early part of the year, Wayland said.
Wayland said Moffat County faired better than most other communities that had Census forms hand-delivered.
He said full results of the 2010 Census will be available to the public in early 2011.