CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The U.S. Census Bureau has moved up its deadline for responses from Oct. 31 to Sept. 30.
According to the Census Bureau, the National Response rate has been 63.3% while Texas has been 58.3%. Minnesota is in the number one spot for responses with a percentage rate of 72.5%, Texas holds number 39 and Puerto Rico is last with 28.8%.
By county, Kaufman has a response rate of 64.6% and holds the 12th spot, Van Zandt County 54.5%, 60th, Navarro County 53.3%, 69th and Henderson County has a response rate of 51.6% and holds the 84th spot.
This announcement comes when the Census Bureau has moved on to its next stage of achieving an accurate count. Door-to-door visits with households that have not responded to the Census online, phone or mail.
“It seems like not only are they cutting back the time they’re giving themselves to do this nonresponse follow up but they’re also allocating the least amount of time in the hardest-to-count places in the state,” said Senior demographer at the Texas Demographic Center Lila Valencia.
Potentially, Texas should post large population gains since 2010 with more than 3.8 million new residents according to the bureau’s estimates.
“We’re in the middle of this pandemic where people are concerned about their health and safety but also concerned about their future and food insecurity and things of that nature,” said Valencia. “That is a phenomena that many of us are experiencing at different levels but some in our state are experiencing all of it. It’s a cumulative effect and for them to even think of the census, it’s just not at their top of mind and understandably so.”
The risk of an incomplete count directly impacts the future of the state because the census flows down to Texans’ daily lives for the next 10 years. This is the funding basis for everything from early childhood programs to highway planning and construction. The data retrieved from the count is used for community building, placement of grocery stores and the deciding factor if schools will be large enough to host students in those communities.
In April, Census officials considered moving the date back to ensure a more complete and accurate count but Aug. 3, Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham stated that they, “are including enumerator awards and hiring more employees to accelerate the completion of data collection and apportionment counts by the statutory deadline of Dec. 31.”
“The Census Bureau’s new plan reflects our continued commitment to conduct a complete count, provide accurate apportionment data and protect the health and safety of the public and our workforce,” said Dillingham.