THE BRONX - Local leaders are pushing for residents to fill out and return their census forms Thursday, known as "National Census Day."

The push seems to be working, with the U.S. Census Bureau reporting Wednesday that the participation rate in the Bronx has reached 36 percent. Historically, New York state is undercounted in the census.

The population count will be used to determine the appropriation of $400 billion in federal funds. All information is confidential.

Ralph Morales, of the Hispanic Clergy Organization, and state Sen. Ruben Diaz, spent Thursday morning passing out census packets in Parkchester. They say they'll continue educating residents about the census for the next two weeks.