Census officials report low participation in Southern California

Some California cities, including Los Angeles, Inglewood and Compton, are lagging behind the rest of the country in returning their census forms, the bureau announced today.

"We're concerned about the relatively low response from parts of California,'' said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. "Every household that fails to send back their census form by mail must be visited by a census taker starting in May -- at a significant taxpayer cost. The easiest and best way to
be counted in the census is to fill out and return your form by mail.''

According to the bureau, 52 percent of households nationally have mailed back their forms as of today. But so far, only 39 percent of Inglewood households have returned the forms.

In Compton, 40 percent of households have returned the form. The rate is 43 percent in Los Angeles, 45 percent in Lancaster, 43 percent in Palmdale, 44 percent in Santa Ana and 43 percent in Moreno Valley.

According to census officials, every percentage-point increase in mail response saves about $85 million in federal funds needed to send census takers to households.