The 2020 U.S. Census closes at the end of this month, with counts used to determine federal funding for public services and boundaries for government representation.
To be counted, people must complete the census by Sept. 30. According to the New Mexico Governor’s office, more than $3 billion in food, roadway safety, education, health care, housing and other programs are at stake over the next 10 years based on the count.
“Those federally funded programs are programs New Mexicans have funded,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “New Mexicans deserve every penny we are owed by the federal government, and the only way to make sure we get them is to complete the census.”
According to the census website, Sandoval County had a 66.5 percent self-response rate from known housing units, and Rio Rancho had a 73.2 percent rate as of Wednesday. Those numbers are higher than the national self-response rate of 65.2 percent and New Mexico’s rate of 56 percent.
According to the website, census takers are going door to door to count people who haven’t self-responded to the census online, by mail or by phone. As of Wednesday census takers had brought up the rates of housing units counted to 84.9 percent for the U.S. and 75.6 percent in New Mexico.
Total rates weren’t available for counties or cities.
People can still respond to the census online at 2020census.gov. They can also call 844-330-2020 for English or 844-467-2020 for TDD for information and assistance.
“The results are used to determine how much funding local communities receive for key public services and how many seats each state gets in Congress,” according to the website. “State and local officials also use census counts to draw boundaries for congressional, state legislative and school districts.”
The Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sandoval County have partnered on the “2020 Census I’m Counted” weekly drawing to reward county residents for participating. After completing the census form, which should take 10 minutes or less, people should receive a confirmation number.
Then they can visit rrrcc.org, click on the “I’m Counted” icon and put in the confirmation number and their name and contact information. They’ll be entered into a drawing for gift cards to locally owned businesses.
Census takers who make home visits will have valid photo ID badges with a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date, according to the census website. Residents who have questions about the identity of someone claiming to be a census taker can call 844-330-2020.
According to the website, Census Bureau websites always end with “.gov.” The bureau never asks for Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers; anything on behalf of a political party; money; or other donations.