By Lynda Jensen
WRIGHT, McLEOD, CARVER, MN Census participation continues to roll along, with local counties beating the national average of participation so far.
McLeod County has turned in 64 percent of its census surveys, Carver 62 percent, and Wright County 56 percent.
Across the board, the nation just surpassed the 50 percent mark last week, with census officials hoping to beat the census rate of 72 percent in 2000.
What will census results bring?
For many, the results of census information will answer many questions about the character of each community, much as it did 10 years ago. For a breakdown of 2000 statistics, click here.
In 2000, New Germany had the highest percent of seniors over age 65 (19.1 percent), along with the highest percent of people who do not speak English at home (14.3 percent).
Winsted also has a high number of seniors over the age of 65, at 16.7 percent of the population.
‘The age-old question’
The question about age (“how old is the person filling out the census form?”) has been asked since the first census of the population in 1790. Data on the 65-years-and-over population was first published in 1870.
Interestingly enough, the census taken in 2000 was the first time in history that the 65-years-and-over population did not grow faster than the total population.
Nationwide, between 1990 and 2000, the total population increased by 13.2 percent, from 248.7 million to 281.4 million people.
In contrast, the population 65 years and over increased by only 12.0 percent.
Among the older population, those 85 years and over showed the highest percentage increase.
In 2000, there were 18.4 million people ages 65 to 74 years old, representing 53 percent of the older population.
In addition, women outnumbered men in the 65 years and over population.
In 2000, there were 14.4 million men and 20.6 million women aged 65 and over, yielding a male-female ratio (the number who were male times 100 divided by the number who were female) of 70.
English as a second language
More than one-quarter of the population in seven states spoke a language other than English at home in 2000.
The national average for non-English speaking families is 17.9 percent.
New Germany is the only city locally that features a double-digit number for those who don’t speak English at home (14.3 percent). Other cities with relatively higher percentages are Bergen Township (7.6 percent), Mayer (6.2 percent), and Camden Township (5.6 percent).
Nationwide, California has the largest percentage of non-English-language speakers (39 percent), followed by New Mexico (37 percent), Texas (31 percent), New York (28 percent), Hawaii (27 percent), Arizona, and New Jersey (each about 26 percent,).
The five states with fewer than 5 percent of the population who speak a language other than English at home are all in the South Tennessee (4.8 percent), Alabama and Kentucky (each 3.9 percent), Mississippi (3.6 percent), and West Virginia (2.7 percent).