April 1, 2020 446 PM
Far West Texas – The United States Census comes once every 10 years –– and this time, it’s during a global pandemic. As the U.S. Census Bureau rapidly adjusts its strategy to get residents to fill out the census, local organizations are emphasizing how getting counted could affect funding for COVID-19 relief.
The Rio Grande Council of Governments is urging Far West Texans to get counted, saying, “Counties and municipalities will need federal resources to recover from COVID-19 aftermath, and since funding is based on population, an accurate census count is essential.”
The pandemic has shuttered businesses and forced area residents to practice “social distancing,” staying six feet apart, or being altogether ordered to stay at home. But traditionally, census outreach has involved workers going door-to-door to track down residents who haven’t filled out their information.
Many of those census outreach events are now postponed for residents’ health and safety, and with no clear end in sight, it is uncertain when census workers can begin their gatherings or door-to-door visits.
According to the COG, “New strategies to reach hard-to-count households in our community during this time will include continued and added social media networking and promotion and a bolstered reliance on traditional outlets such as newspapers, radio, bulk mailings, flyers and posters.”
“Information and good swag will also accompany school meals and distributions at regional food pantries.”
In Texas, 31.3 percent have self responded. But the tri-county area is currently among the worst respondents in the state. One percent of Presidio County residents have responded, with 4.9 percent in Jeff Davis and 12.9 percent in Brewster County.
If you haven’t received your census in the mail, you can still fill out your information today. For the first time ever, the census is available to be filled out online at my2020census.gov and over the phone at (844) 330-2020 for English speakers and (844) 468-2020 for Spanish speakers. Everyone who lives in the household must be counted, regardless of immigration status.
From the COG: “Stay home! Sanitize! Self-respond! Everyone counts!”