Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

U.S. Census Spending Starts To Make Sense

The U.S. Census is using sports to try to get the word out that people need to mail in their forms that will arrive in 120 million households next week.

Its Super Bowl ad was lambasted for costing $2.5 million and not being to the point and others are now surprised that the Census has signed a $1.2 million deal to be on Greg Biffle’s car for three weeks, beginning this past Sunday.

Inside the Census

The bashing comes from people who don’t seem to understand why the government agency, which happens to have a $14 billion budget, has to advertise.

But it’s actually pretty simple, considering getting an accurate Census is pretty important.

“We are facing a three-decade decline in mail response forms for the Census,” said Census spokesman Stephen Buckner. “And what that means is money. For every one percentage point that the Census can increase mail response rates, we save taxpayers $85 million not having to send somebody out to knock on your door.”

Buckner said that the Census is spending roughly $1 per person, relying them to send back their form. But when they don’t, it costs the Census about $25 for every door they have to knock on.

As for that Biffle sponsorship, Buckner says the Census is spending roughly 1.6 cents per NASCAR race to get the word out on his car.

  • NASCAR needs some rivalries to stir it up: Gordon
  • 2010 Census by the Numbers

Questions?  Comments?