REO Bank Foreclosures Expected to Challenge 2010 Census

by on REO Properties

Record numbers of REO bank foreclosures are expected to challenge the U.S. Census Bureau as it carries out its once-a-decade nationwide head count in 2010.

According to census officials, they expect that many of their mailed census forms would not be returned by households who have abandoned their foreclosed homes and by immigrants who have concerns about their immigration status. Officials also added that sending personnel to make personal follow-ups on unreturned mailed census forms is expensive.

In March, the Census Bureau will send census forms to around 120 million households who are expected to receive them between March 15 and 17. Households who do not return the forms will receive a reminder or follow-up communication through a postcard. Those who do not respond after follow-ups will be visited by census takers in May.

This month, Census chief Robert Groves will launch the nationwide campaign for the census in New York City through an event where he will unveil a 48-foot trailer with the label Mail It Back. Thirteen trailers will attend around 800 small and big community events across the country to promote the census, including the NCAA Final games and the Super Bowl.

Despite expected problems arising from REO bank foreclosures, the Census Bureau hopes that the emphasis of the campaign on the confidentiality of the information given on the census forms will encourage everyone to participate, regardless of immigration or mortgage account status.

According to the U.S. Constitution, any information gathered through the census cannot be disclosed to any other federal agency or law enforcement body. Census responses are considered confidential under the law. Additionally, the Constitution mandates the Census Bureau to count everyone in U.S. households, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.

During the last census in 2000, around 67 percent returned their census forms, a significant improvement over previous census years. The once-every-decade head count is mandated by the Constitution so that congressional districts are properly drawn and that electoral college votes are properly distributed to the states. Additionally, Congress uses the head count in distributing billions in federal funds to state and local governments and other political units.

Census data is also used to determine where hospitals and schools should be built and how disaster management efforts are implemented.

According to Groves, his bureau has been doing its best to address anticipated problems like REO bank foreclosures and undercounting in minority and immigrant communities.