Champ Village, Missouri is currently the champ of Census 2010 participation. Eighty percent of its residents have already returned their questionnaires. Okay, so only 17 people live there, but still they reign supreme (at least for today) on the “Take 10 Challenge Map.” And if those three hold-outs would send in their forms, they might be the first place to reach 100 percent participation.

 Census particiapation map from census.gov

In an effort to encourage friendly competition and remind people to mail their questionnaires, the Census Bureau is publishing daily participation rates for states, counties, cities, towns, ZIP codes, and even census tracts. The tool also lets you view Census 2000 participation rates by place for comparison.

It’s interesting that the five states with the highest participation rates so far--the Dakotas, Montana, Iowa, and Minnesota--are predominantly rural. And all but one (Lyons Village, N.Y.) of the top 50 towns are in the Midwest. These areas know who butters their bread.  My colleagues’ recent report that traces federal assistance to states and localities based on Census data confirms a correlation between rurality and per capita expenditures.

So can your city/county/state beat Champ Village, Missouri? Probably not. They have the advantage of a small population, and I’m guessing it is not of the “hard to count” variety. But if you have someone like Barbara Sessa, the town clerk of San Antonio, Florida whose mission is to re-gain the 150-some residents she says were not counted in 2000, you just might come close… or at least beat your Census 2000 rate.