Census sends letters to right zip code, but wrong town

What's in a name? To the U.S. Census Bureau it's no big deal that letters to residents of O'Fallon and Shiloh, Ill., informing them to be on the lookout for census surveys due next week came with the right zip code but the wrong town name.

But Mayor Gary Graham said he thinks it is no laughing matter that his residents are getting letters that say they live in Belleville.

"We're very concerned because they made a giant error," Graham said. "If they can't even get the town name right on these letters, how do we know that they're going to send our money to the right place? I'm very concerned that the federal government doesn't even know that the town of O'Fallon, Illinois is out there."

Muriel Jackson, spokeswoman at the U.S. Census Bureau's Chicago Regional Office, said Wednesday that Census officials are aware of the addressing problem but they're not quite sure what happened. She said the wrong address on the letters shouldn't be viewed as a sign that the census will be flawed.

"We're aware that there is an issue and we are in the troubleshooting process," Jackson said. "Residents should just fill out their surveys and send them back in like they normally would. We're addressing the problem."

Read more of this story at

Related stories from McClatchy DC