When Uncle Sam came calling for information this spring, residents in the Volunteer State were more likely to respond than most Americans, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Tennesseans filled out the 2010 census questionnaires at a higher rate than the United States as a whole, government figures indicate.
While Chattanooga area residents participated in the mailed surveys at an even higher rate than the state average, the city's response rate to the mailed surveys was below the U.S. average.
In Georgia, the response rate was slightly below the U.S. average.
Area census response rates
Here are the response rates of other Southeast Tennessee counties:
* Bledsoe County: 79 percent
* Polk County: 79 percent
* Franklin County: 79 percent
* Meigs County: 76 percent
* Grundy County: 75 percent
Source: U.S. Bureau of Census
The nation as a whole had a 74 percent participation rate. Federal dollars and elected representation at the local, state and federal levels are apportioned according to the population count taken every 10 years.
In Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia, all but four of the 15 area counties had above-average participation rates in filling out and returning census forms, which were mailed to homes this spring. The share of households that completed the mailed census forms varied from 68 percent in Georgia's Chattooga County to 79 percent in Bledsoe, Sequatchie, Polk and Franklin counties in Tennessee and Catoosa County in Georgia. Chattanooga's response rate was 72 percent.
Nearly all the counties also increased their participation rates compared with the 2000 census.
"I think, working with our partners, we were more successful than some areas in helping people recognize the importance of the census and the value of filling out the mailed form," said Michael Hall, a Census Bureau spokesman for the Mid-South region in Charlotte, N.C.
Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said the 2010 response rates nationwide matched those of a decade ago and "demonstrate that the public stepped up to be counted."
The higher number of returned and completed questionnaires helped limit the number of census workers making home visits to achieve an accurate count. The Census Bureau hired 1.4 million temporary workers this year to gather the population count, including more than 1,200 employees in the Chattanooga area.
For every 1 percent of the U.S. population that filled out the mailed census survey, the government estimates it saved $85 million in expenses for census workers to go door to door to follow up on households that didn't respond, Hall said.
State and local population figures aren't expected to be released until early next year, according to the Census Bureau.