Census Awards and a Totem Pole - (U.S. Census Bureau) $436,000

For the last ten years, Census officials have wracked their brains to figure out ways to increase participation in the 2010 decennial count. In the State of Alaska, the least responsive state, they pinned their hopes on a totem pole."The 8-foot totem brings us an accurate and inspiring vision of the census," noted Jan McStay, an assistant regional census manager. 2010 marked the most expensive census in history, leaving some taxpayers wondering whether a $23,000 totem pole was the best use of funds. Defending the purchase, the Bureau argued it would help increase involvement in the Census. However, Alaskans' participation in the 2010 Census decreased from the 2000 survey.
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