U.S. Census count down

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In this Jan. 21, 2010 file photo, a crowd of people walk in New York. The number of people returning their census forms has dropped. The census is the government's once-a-decade population count that will be used to divvy up congressional seats and more than $400 billion in federal aid.

Despite efforts to boost the United States Census, the number of forms people are returning is down. Census officials say that about 20 percent fewer American households have returned their census forms this year than last time around.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has repeated often that boosting the decennial head count is critical to the city’s fiscal well being.

He says Los Angeles lost hundreds of millions of state and federal dollars because of an undercount 10 years ago.

“Please fill the form out. It will benefit you. For years," said Michael Carpenter, who leads the federal effort to count the population in the central L.A. region.

He says those benefits include government money for roads, schools and other public services.

It’s not too late to participate.

Census officials say the 10-question form takes only 10 minutes to complete. The US Census Bureau is sending out a second round of forms to households. Soon, workers will knock on doors to complete the count.

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