In 2000, South Carolina had the country's second-worst response rate to mailing back census forms.
Only Alaska trailed our state in the lack of people who returned their forms after the first mailing. That meant census officials had to mail more forms and send people into neighborhoods to knock on doors.
This year, South Carolina officials are determined to do better.
As a result, you will see commercials and hear a lot of news reports about the census over the next few months.
These 10 facts about Census 2010 should help you understand how it works - and what it means for the state.
1. Census history: The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census be held every 10 years. The 2010 census will be the country's 23rd. The first was held in 1790, when 3.9 million people were counted. Today, more people than that live in South Carolina alone.
2. Let the countdown begin: The official census date is April 1. However, households will start receiving forms in the mail in March. You can return your form sooner than April 1.
3. Ten questions: The form asks simple questions about each member of the household. It wants to know how many people live in each residence and information such as ages, gender and race.
4. Why your response counts: Congressional representation, political maps and federal funding for state and local governments are determined by the census. If estimates on South Carolina's population growth hold up, the state could receive a seventh congressional seat. That would result in more clout in Washington D.C.
The state legislature will use the census to redraw the maps that determine which candidates you vote on during federal and state elections.
5. Dollars and cents: The Census Bureau estimated that 48,000 South Carolinians were missed during the 2000 count. Census officials estimate that states receive an average of $1,200 annually per person counted. If that's true, then South Carolina missed out on about $58 million a year during the last 10 years.
6. Dorms, jails and barracks: If you are in jail, you will be counted in the county where you are housed, not the one where you lived before your arrest. The same goes for college students and soldiers. That means Columbia gets to count all the students at the University of South Carolina and all the soldiers at Fort Jackson as its own.
7. Legal or not, you're counted: Federal law requires that all residents - legal or illegal - be included in the count. The census doesn't care about legal status. It just wants to know how many people are here. By law, the census cannot share information with anyone.
8. Knock, knock. Who's there? If you don't mail back your form, then expect someone from the census to show up at your door. Census workers will carry identification and an official bag. Also, some residential addresses were disputed by the Census Bureau and weren't approved in time for mailing labels to be printed. Those homes will get hand-delivered forms.
9. Looking for a job? The Census Bureau will hire 12,5000 temporary, part-time workers in South Carolina. Most of those job openings are for enumerators, or the people who knock on doors to ask people to fill out forms.
There are several ways to apply: Online at http://2010.census.gov/2010censusjobs or by calling a national toll-free number at (866) 861-2010. If you live in Columbia, you can call the local office at (803) 239-5030. The Lexington office's number is (803) 233-1570.
10. And the results are ... The Census Bureau must deliver the results to President Barack Obama by Dec. 31.
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; Charlotte Regional Census Office; S.C. Office of Research and Statistics.