Maui trailing in Census response, Friday deadline approaching

April 14, 2010, 12:49 PM HST · Updated April 15, 6:08 AM
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By Wendy Osher

Census workers are on Maui this week, making a last minute push to boost Census response on the Valley Isle.  As of Wednesday morning, Maui County had a 47% return rate for census surveys—that’s the lowest in the state.

Photo Credit: U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office

Areas with particularly low response rates include: 32% for Kihei (48% in 2000), 32% in Hana (42% in 2000), and 30% in Lahaina (37% in 2000).  The national rate is 67%, while the state rate is 61%.  Honolulu leads the state with a 67% participation rate so far, followed by the Big Island at 51%, Kauai at 50% and Maui at 47%.

With only three days left until Friday’s deadline, Meilyn Otemai, a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau is encouraging residents to “march to the mail box and drop it off.”

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“That way we can get our fair share of monies for Maui County.  We need this federal funding to help with a lot of our services including school programs, senior centers, roads, extension of roads, and the building of new schools in overcrowded areas,” said Otemai.

Census officials say it only takes an estimated 10 minutes to fill out the survey.  The document asks for a person’s name, date of birth, race, how many people are in their household and how they are related.

Federal employees will be available at Questionnaire Assistance Centers throughout the county, providing guidance today through Friday.

“You can either pickup a questionnaire form if you feel you did not receive one, or take the questionnaire you received from you home over there where someone can help you,” said Otemai.

Questionnaire Assistance Centers are available at a number of locations across the county including:  Kihei Community Center Wed & Fri from 2-3:30 p.m. and Thurs, 12:30 to 2 p.m.; Longs Drugs in Pukalani Wed & Fri from 3-6 p.m.; Safeway in Kihei all day Wednesday until 6 p.m.; Hale Kaukau at St. Theresa’s Church, Wed-Friday 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.; Hana and Lahaina.

To find an assistance center in a specific area, a search can be done by zip code on the 2010census.gov website or by calling 1-866-872-6868.

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