New Mexico Has Dismal Census Record

New Mexico – Census workers begin going door to door Saturday to talk to New Mexicans who didn't mail back their census questionnaire.

That could be a big job, because New Mexico residents sent in their forms at a lower rate than any other state but Alaska.

The Census Bureau's preliminary state-by-state figures show 63 percent of New Mexicans mailed in their 2010 census.

That's below the mail-in rate in the last census in 2000, when the rate was 65 percent.

The national rate was 72 percent in 2000, the same mail-in rate as this year.

A census spokeswoman in Albuquerque, Veronica Reyes, says the biggest gaps seem to be in rural areas.

The count is important because it's used to distribute federal aid, apportion U.S. House seats and draw district boundaries.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.