For 2010 Census, counting gets tougher

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WILMINGTON, Del. — The pungent aroma of spices, beans and rice fills the matchbox-size Dominican Cafe on West Fourth Street. The lunch counter is packed when community activist Carlos Dipres enters and chats with diners about el censo. He's met by blank stares.
A block away at Juan's Auto Repair, owner Juan Vargas says he doesn't know much about the U.S. Census but is pretty sure he'll respond to the government survey when it's sent out in 2010. "As long as it's in Spanish," he says through a translator.

Meanwhile, a couple of African-American men hanging out in front of an old row house in this inner-city neighborhood refuse to talk about the Census. Period.

Language barriers. Cultural diversity. Suspicion about the government. They're all part of the daunting challenge the Census Bureau faces in just 18 months to accurately tally the number of Americans.

Counting each person in the USA every 10 years hasn't been easy since the first Census in 1790, when counters went door to door on horseback. But 220 years later, the hurdles could be unprecedented.

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