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The U. S. Census Bureau recognized community service organizations such as the Gamma Alpha Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the Jackson Madison county NAACP branch, and 100 Black Men of West Tennessee for their efforts in increasing participation in 10 “hard to count” areas in Madison County, according to Harrell Carter, NAACP Branch president.

These areas are defined as those in which residents largely do not mail back census forms counting the number of residents in each household. They include parts of downtown and East Jackson.

Some areas boasted a participation increase of as much as 12 percent above the national average, Carter said. All 10 “hard to count” track areas experienced at least a 5 percent increase above the national average.

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The census bureau was able to send back $1.6 billion to the federal government, but members of this community sector had to first battle years of government mistrust.

“The more people mail the form back in, the less people the census bureau had to hire to go door to door, especially in the African American community because usually African Americans do not send the forms back in because of their distrust of the government,” Parham said. “They’re not sure what they’re going to do with that information.”

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