The Census vs. Waitsburg

So what’s up with Waitsburg?

According to a news release from Sen. Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, the Waitsburgians are apparently saying “no thanks” when it comes to being counted in the 2010 Census.

(Go here to check out the Census return figures for yourself.)

As of Wednesday, only 40 percent of the folks in Waitsburg have mailed their Census forms back in, the lowest return rate in Walla Walla County. The city of Walla Walla is holding the lead with a 73 percent return rate, followed by College Place (70 percent). Overall, Walla Walla County has a 71 percent return rate, the same as Benton County and only a point behind Columbia County (72 percent), but ahead of Franklin County (69 percent).

Jumping over the line into Oregon, Milton-Freewater’s citizens are dragging their collective feet with a 64 percent return rate, way down from the 75 percent who opted to be counted in the 2000 Census. (But that’s not far behind the city of Tacoma, where only 66 percent of the residents have returned forms.)

Censuswise, the folks who can hold their heads up are the citizens of Dayton, who have posted an 80 percent return rate. That figure beats the city’s 2000 return rate, which was 79 percent.

But getting back to Waitsburg, what’s up with them? Are we seeing some kind of revolt against being put into a vast government data bank? A hint of the dark distrust citizens there have of the federal government? Or is it just a refusal to open up any letters from the Census Bureau on the grounds they may contain bad news?

Or could it be just a general dislike of being asked to fill out yet another government form? (Which, given that this is April 15, tax deadline day, makes about as much sense as anything.)

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