Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

Over 160,000 New Mexico households not yet invited to participate in 2020 Census

SANTA FE (KSMX)- The suspension of field operations by the U.S. Census Bureau in response to COVID-19 has left nearly 18 percent of New Mexico without the ability to easily participate in the 2020 Census. This has resulted in artificially lower-than-average response rates and poses yet another burden for our state to overcome for a complete count in the decennial effort.

“New Mexico is shouldering a disproportionate share of the national burden when it comes to the impact that COVID-19 has had on the census,” Olivia Padilla-Jackson, state finance secretary and the chair of New Mexico’s Complete Count Commission, stated in a pr4ess release. “When you consider that so many New Mexican’s haven’t even received an invitation to participate, it’s no surprise we lag in responses.”

As of mid-April, 37 percent of New Mexico households had responded to the census, compared to a national average of 48 percent.

Due to COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau suspended all field operations just four days after they began. This included efforts by census workers to hand-deliver forms to households that don’t have standard addresses or receive their mail at P.O. boxes. Nationwide, only five percent of the population falls into this category, but in New Mexico, 17.8 percent of all households rely on a hand-delivered form.

Responding online or by phone without a unique Census ID is not an ideal option for some as it can be difficult, especially for households with a non-city style address.

The decennial Census helps determine the allocation of billions of dollars in federal funding. Research suggests that each New Mexico resident not counted results in a loss of $3,700 per resident, per year.

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