Home News Local News One more day to 50K — census responses due tonight

One more day to 50K — census responses due tonight

Today is the final day to complete that census survey. Go to www.2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020 before midnight tonight to be counted. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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You may have heard a thing or two about the Census survey over the past months, but today is really it, the last day for people in Roswell to respond.

Marcos Nava, the volunteer head of the Roswell 2020 Complete Count Committee, said plans had been made for more outreach efforts to solicit survey responders at local churches, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Tuesday allowing the U.S. Census Bureau to end data collection “blew through those plans.”

Instead, Nava urges people to respond and to encourage the several hundreds of households that haven’t filled out the survey to do so by midnight, because each response will help the local area.

“I feel comfortable that we have made our goal,” he added.

He explained that the Roswell self-response rate is 65.7%. Even if enumerators, or census workers, raised the response rate by only 10% to 15%, he said, Roswell will have exceeded the 72% response rate that volunteers estimate is needed to reach the 50,000 population count that has been at the core of the local “On our way to 50K” campaign message.

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When a city reaches 50,000 people, it becomes eligible for additional types of federal grants to help with housing, transportation and other community development projects. As Nava has repeatedly said, each person counted also means $34,750 to the area over 10 years in federal dollars for all types of programs, including food, education, transportation, public safety and health care.

Population counts also determine legislative representation and are used by various groups to make policy, and marketing and business development decisions.

The deadline for responses has been whipsawed around over the past couple of months. Originally, it was July 31. But the pandemic caused the U.S. Census Bureau to postpone it until Oct. 31. Then, the Trump Administration, saying it wanted to be sure that data gathering and analysis were completed by Dec. 31 as required by law, moved the deadline up to Sept. 30.

Lawsuits were filed as plaintiffs said the shortened deadline threatened quality of data as well as short-changed rural, tribal and hard-to-reach areas. A federal judge in California issued an injunction against the September deadline, and the Census Bureau then announced an Oct. 5 deadline. The California judge then ruled that the deadline had to be Oct. 31, but the U.S. government succeeded in its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and was able to wrap up counting efforts this week.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the United States and New Mexico had total response rates of 99.9% after the work of enumerators. The self-response rate for Chaves County was 62.5%. For Dexter, it was 42.5%. For Hagerman, it stood at 43.3%. Lake Arthur’s self-response rate was 48%.

The final counts are expected to be available to local leaders by December or January.

To complete the survey, go to www.2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.