Montezuma County ‘On Track’ with Census Response; Accurate Count Tied to Emergency Funds

Mar 24, 2020

Montezuma County is a few percentage points below Colorado’s self-response rate for the 2020 census but continues to hold a better rate than its neighboring counties. 

The latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau report the county’s self-response rate at 20.4%. That’s under four points below Colorado’s rate of 24.1% and the nationwide rate of 23.6%.

“I think our response rate is on track,” said Rachel Medina, a county GIS specialist who’s part of the Montezuma Complete Count Committee. “I’m hoping that people continue to fill it out and see the importance of it.”

Nearby counties are further behind, with La Plata County at 16.5% and Dolores County at 3.8%.

The complete count committee initially set up devices at public spaces, like local libraries, where people could access the bureau’s online response form. Those spaces have since closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus but for those that can’t access the online form, other options are still available.

Census invitations sent earlier this month included a number to call for assistance in completing responses: 844-330-2020. Help is also available in Spanish at 844-468-2020.

Select households have received paper response forms, which will also later be sent to remaining households who have not responded online or by phone. And census takers are still scheduled, according to the bureau, but their visits have been delayed due to the coronavirus.

An accurate local count, Medina said, will benefit the community when the bureau’s data helps to determine emergency funding and other federal financial support.

“Hopefully people are seeing that message and remembering that this data is critical while we see our nation go through an emergency,” Medina said.

Hear KSJD’s full interview with Medina below.

Note: The bureau has since updated response rates after the recording of this interview. The latest numbers are reflected in the article above.