Census returns from Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor curiously low

Central Kitsap is reporting lower than expected census numbers and a sharp drop in returned forms at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor has officials scratching their heads.

Only 55 percent of households on the base returned census forms, said Brian Maule, manager of the Census Bureau's Silverdale office. Last time the census was taken, in 2000, 75 percent of forms were returned.

Countywide, most areas are reporting returns between 70 and 80 percent.

"When one track has a huge increase or drop relative to the surrounding tracks, that always raises a red flag," Maule said. "We may never know the answer but it's something we will try and figure out."

The county is divided into tracks to organize the count.

What makes the Bangor numbers unique, Maule said, is the fact that all the surrounding areas have not seen a drop. Tracks directly to the north and south of Bangor saw little change over the 2000 count, both reporting numbers near 80 percent.

"You get to Bangor and boom, it drops off," he said, adding that the Navy has been supportive of the census and its door-to-door workers.

He said the bureau typically identifies potential problem areas ahead of census forms being mailed out, but Bangor was never on the radar and it's still unclear why the drop, Maule said.

While the north end of the county is reporting rising return percentages, Central Kitsap is struggling to keep up with numbers from 2000. As a county, the number of returned forms has improved from 75 percent to 77 percent.

*In Jackson Park, 60 percent of forms have been returned compared to 72 percent in 2000.

*Parts of Silverdale along the Old Town district dropped 8 percent, from 78 to 70 percent.

*Forms returned from Illahee residents rose slightly from 79 percent in 2000 to 80 percent this year.

Tracks around Bremerton are seeing varying increases, specifically in the suburbs.

*North of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, the percent of forms returned increased from 65 percent to 69 percent.

*The Manette area increased 6 percent from 71 percent to 77 percent.

*Residents in the Oyster Bay area also saw a 6 percent increase up to 81 percent.

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