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Census Day for the 23rd Census of the United States

Today is Census Day, and the President recently filled out and mailed back his own census form.

Today is Census Day - the day of reference that defines who to report as living in your household on your 2010 Census form.

This morning, President Obama officially declared today "Census Day" in a presidential proclamation.

Also today, I learned that President Obama recently filled out and mailed back his census form. Below you can see a photo of the President fulfilling his civic obligation to be counted.

President Obama Fills Out Census Form

President Barack Obama fills out his 2010 Census form in the Oval Office, March 29, 2010. March 29, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The First Family experiences a unique privilege every day by living in the White House. But one aspect of their lives that is quite common also happens to be something that often causes confusion when people fill out the census form. The First Ladys mother lives with the family in the White House. Since the census asks for a count of everyone currently living in the household - not just immediate family - the President included his mother-in-law on his census form.

In these difficult economic times, it's common for extended family and friends to live with another family, yet many households mistakenly leave these individuals off their census forms.

Like the President, millions of you have already completed your form and mailed it back. You got the message that doing so is important and saves taxpayers the cost of sending out a trained census taker to interview you in person.

And the 10 simple questions you answered on the form are very close to those asked in the first-ever U.S. census in 1790. All of us today are helping to fulfill the goals of our Founding Fathers, especially James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, who played key roles in that 1790 Census. It was their invention to ensure the fairest possible political representation in our government.

You followed in our Founders footsteps, completed a great act of civic responsibility and contributed to wise stewardship of Federal tax dollars.

Now you can follow your community's progress in returning census forms. A new interactive map provides daily updates of the percentage of returned census forms. We encourage you to check the map frequently over the coming weeks to see how your community is doing compared to 2000, and also see how others across the country are faring.

While you're visiting our Web site, explore its other features, such as an interactive form that explains the purpose and history of each question, assistance guides in 59 languages, and a page that describes the origins of the census in the Constitution.

As for those of you who haven't yet filled out your form, you still have a couple of weeks left. It's not too late to do what many of your neighbors have already done.

So do your part to make the 2010 Census a success -- fill out your form and mail it back.

Robert Groves is Director of the U.S. Census Bureau