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Friday, April 16, 2010

San Franciscans Stink at Returning Census Forms

Posted By on Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 7:59 AM

There's San Francisco, on the far left...
  • There's San Francisco, on the far left...
Was it the brightest thing for the government to stack its deadlines so U.S. Census Deadline Day is just 24 hours after Tax Day? Perhaps not. But that question isn't on the census, which is due today.

If census return rates had been a horse race, your humble narrator would have put his money on Marin County crossing the post first among the nine Bay Area counties and San Francisco bringing up the rear.

I'd have lost on the Marin gambit -- unless I was conservative and bet on Marin to win, place, or show. But, according to the Census' handy-dandy county-by-county participation map, San Francisco is indeed coming last among all the Bay Area counties.

According to the most recent data, 64 percent of San Franciscans have gone to the trouble of returning the census form. The top returner, so far, is Santa Clara County (71 percent); followed by Marin, San Mateo, and Napa (70 percent); Sonoma and Contra Costa at 69 percent; Solano and Alameda at 67 percent; and then good ol' San Fran at 64 percent.

The national return rate is hovering at 68 percent, while the state's is 66 percent. That makes us, yes, worse than average.

On the neighborhood-by-neighborhood level, a round swath of land near Mt. Davidson Park is tops in the city with a 78-percent return rate. an Oklahoma-shaped strip of land bordered by Fourth Street, Market, Howard, and the bay has far and away the worst return rate at 43 percent.

And, by the way, this isn't simply a case of affluent neighborhoods outperforming poorer ones: Large swaths of Pacific Heights have registered a 59 percent rate, while the Marina is at 60 percent. Golden Gate Park, intriguingly, boasts a 67-percent return rate. Who knew?

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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