What Is the Point of This Interactive Map?
The Census Bureau has created a map that allows you to track Census mail participation rates, which the bureau defines as the percentage of forms mailed back from households that received them. When I read the map this morning, Missouri’s participation rate was 28 percent, well above the national rate of 16 percent. The map also lists areas with the highest participation rates so far; this morning, two small towns in Iowa were tied at 74 percent.
The map is colorful and easy to use. Still, I can’t help wondering why the Census Bureau displays this information so prominently. The Census isn’t a contest in which we try to beat other states. It doesn’t really matter which cities or counties are “ahead” in mailing back their forms.