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New Mexico behind national average in Census count


New Mexico’s self-response rate to the 2020 U.S. Census was 51.4 percent as of July 8, which is more than 10 points behind the national self-response rate of 62 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

 “The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions in federal funding every year, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade,” according to www.2020census.gov/en/census-data.html.

A University of New Mexico study showed New Mexico with the second-worst response rate in the 2010 Census. If the state undercounts again in 2020, it could result in a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in the next 10 years. The state will lose about $3,000 a year for every person not counted.

“Federal dollars for sidewalks, Section Eight housing, school lunches, Pell grants; these are just a few of the over 60 different programs your census count brings us,” said Mayor Ken Miyagishima.

“We have asked Las Cruces community members to be heroes this year and respond to the census, because billions of dollars are at stake as well as having an accurate representation of elected officials at all levels of government including the United States Congress, New Mexico legislature, and local bodies such as the city council,” interim City Manager David Maestas said. “The more people who are counted, the more money [we] get for schools, health care services, hospitals, roads and public safety.”

The 2020 Census count began Jan. 21, when the Census Bureau started counting people in the rural village of Toksook Bay, Alaska. In mid-March, the bureau mailed information nationwide on how to complete the census online, by phone or by mail. In mid-April it mailed paper questionnaires to homes that had not yet responded online or by phone.

Here is the Census Bureau’s timeline going forward:

  • Now-Sept. 3: Census takers will work with administrators at colleges, senior centers, prisons and other facilities that house large numbers of people to make sure everyone is counted.
  • Aug. 11-Oct. 31: Census takers will conduct interviews at homes that haven't responded to the 2020 Census.
  • December: The Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the president and Congress.
  • March 31, 2021: The Census Bureau will send redistricting counts to the states. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.

Forecasters are already projecting that up to 10 states could lose a U.S. House of Representatives seat as a result of the final 2020 Census count, and seven states – including Texas and Colorado – could gain seats. New Mexico is likely to keep its three seats.

The Census Bureau estimates the U.S. population (50 states plus Washington, D.C.) as of April 1, 2020 was 329.5 million, up 6.7 percent from the 2010 Census.

The Census Bureau reported that 132 programs used Census Bureau data to distribute more than $675 billion in funds during FY2015. Recipients included medical, childcare, school lunch, housing, education (including Head Start), food and small business development programs.

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) a nonpartisan independent watchdog (www.pogo.org), said in March that 316 federal programs will distribute $1.5 billion based on 2020 Census results.

POGO said New Mexico received nearly $11 billion in census-guided federal spending in FY2017. The amounts to almost 13.1 percent of personal income, ranking New Mexico fifth nationally. New Mexico’s final self-response rate for the 2010 Census was 60 percent, according to POGO.

Complete the census online at www.my2020census.gov or call 1-844-330-2020.

Visit the city website (www.las-cruces.org) and type “census” in the search window to learn more.

Census, 2020 U.S. Census, New Mexico