Alaska — One down, more than 309 million to go.
U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves on Monday began the 2010 count of the nation’s residents in a village in Alaska’s arctic hinterlands.
The first person tallied in Noorvik, an Inupiat Eskimo community of 650, was Clifton Jackson, a World War II veteran and the town’s oldest resident.
“It’s all downhill from now,” Groves said after leaving Jackson’s house.
Clifton said he was honored to be the first person counted.
“It’s seemed, to me, OK,” he said.
Earlier Monday, Groves and other officials were taken from the airport to the village school by sled, with dog teams driven by schoolchildren. He even took a turn driving the sled in temperatures hovering just above zero — balmy compared with the minus-40 lows that settled over the village earlier this month.