Vietnamese Elders Overcome Isolation, Language Barriers to Be Counted in Census

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Editor’s note: Since the end of March, the Census Bureau has been tracking mail-in response rates to the 2010 Census questionnaire, and posting daily updates on their Web site, www.census.gov. Although the national response rate is now above 70 percent, certain pockets of the country -- primarily low-income and ethnic communities -- are participating at a far lower rate. One example is the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, where as of April 23 only 50 percent of all households had returned a census form. New America Media went to the Tenderloin to interview some of the neighborhood’s “hardest to count” community members -- immigrant elders living in SRO hotels and subsidized apartments -- who managed to be counted in the decennial census, despite substantial obstacles.