Government

Iowans being challenged to complete 2020 census

State's response rate exceeds 60 percent, third highest in nation

Forms for the 2020 U.S. census were mailed to households earlier this year. Residents can respond online, by phone, or b
Forms for the 2020 U.S. census were mailed to households earlier this year. Residents can respond online, by phone, or by filling out the paper form and returning it by mail. (Associated Press)

More than two-thirds of Iowa households have responded to the 2020 United States census, but state leaders are urging Iowans to up their game.

Iowa has the third highest self-response rate to the census, trailing Minnesota’s 70 percent response and Wisconsin’s 67.4 percent, according to the Census Bureau, which conducts the count of U.S. residents every 10 years.

Overall, more than 60 percent of all households have responded, with approximately four out of every five of those households choosing to do so online at 2020census.gov.

Current internet self-response rates are 9.2 percentage points above Census Bureau projections, as households continue to favor online to phone and mail responses.

To drive the Iowa response rate higher, the governor’s 2020 U.S. Census Complete Count Committee has launched a Key to the Future response rate challenge for all of the state’s 928 cities and 99 counties.

“From disaster relief to representation in Congress, the census plays an important role in protecting Iowa’s future,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said.

Census results inform how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives and other critical programs and services. The 2020 Census results will impact Iowa for the next 10 years.

The challenge is based on the 2020 Census Response Rate Map — online at 2020Census.gov/response-rates — which tracks self-response rates of households at the national, state and local levels. As of May 25, about 990,000 Iowa households had responded.

Self-response rates measure households responding in one of three ways: Online at 2020Census.gov, by phone (1-844-330-2020), or by mailing in paper questionnaires.

Iowa cities and counties are being challenged to meet these goals:

• Tier 1 cities: Populations up to 5,000 — reach 100 percent count of households

• Tier 2 cities: Populations 5,001 to 50,000 — reach 2010 response rates plus 10 percent

• Tier 3 cities: Populations 50,001 and larger — reach 2010 response rates plus 10 percent

• Iowa counties: Reach 2010 response rates plus 5 percent

More information on the challenge is on the governor’s website, https://governor.iowa.gov/.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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