Census: Day 1 and counting

Census season kicked off Monday with about 40 responses filed over the Internet and into Census Bureau computers in Bowie, Md.

Also on the first official day of business for the 2000 count, the U.S. Postal Service delivered an undisclosed number of completed paper questionnaires to four processing centers, in Pomona, Calif.; Phoenix; Jeffersonville, Ind.; and Baltimore.

"We've been through the dress rehearsal. We've done tests. It's just a matter of waiting for the data to arrive and begin the processing," said J. Gary Doyle, who is in charge of system integration as assistant division chief of the decennial systems office.

Although 121 million questionnaires will be mailed on March 13, several thousand forms already have been distributed by Census workers to rural areas. Places receiving early deliveries include Unalakleet, Alaska, a village 100 miles southeast of Nome where Census Director Kenneth Prewitt visited in January.

Information about filing via the Internet is available at www.2000.census.gov. Anyone who wants to use the Internet to respond to the census will need to key in the number on their form.

Doyle said Census officials do not expect a big Internet response because there was little advance publicity about using computers to file the decennial questionnaire.

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