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Even as the country grapples with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there is another extremely important process going on to which every single resident of this country is called to respond: the 2020 United States Census.

According to U.S. Census Bureau Colorado Director Laurie Cipriano, since the census effort was launched on March 12, some 38 percent of Colorado households have responded to the 2020 Census. The national self-response rate is 36.2 percent, so Coloradans are doing slightly better than U.S. households in general.

That said, the response rates across the 64 Colorado counties are fairly uneven. As of this morning, Douglas County has the highest response rate in the state; 46.3 percent, while Grand County has the lowest census response; 1.7 percent. Chaffee County ranks 29th on the list of county census response rates: coming at only 29.9 percent response to date. While this response rate is better than some of our nearby central Colorado counties, it lags far behind the state average.

Everyone Counts Colorado Census 2020 Photo Courtesy of Colorado.gov

This MAP shows the census response rates. Census officials remind households that the census is a simple, nine-question form about the people living in your household as of April 1, 2020; this includes all U.S.-based households, regardless of citizenship. Census registration takes no more than ten minutes to complete and it is entirely confidential; the information is not shared among government agencies and cannot be used to target non-citizen households.

“We encourage Coloradans to self-respond as soon as possible and make Colorado the state with the highest 2020 Census self-response rate in the nation,” says Cipriano. Colorado households have received two communications from the U.S. Census Bureau; the first a message providing census instructions, and explaining why it is so critically important to state and federal funding that arrives at the local level, and the second a letter providing us with a census ID, to go online to complete the census.

With Colorado households on stay-at-home orders from Governor Jared Polis, this is as good a time as any to make Chaffee County the Colorado county with the best census response rate. According to census officials, the 2020 census process is the easiest it has ever been to complete your census duty; People can self respond to the 2020 census on their own, whether online, by phone, or by mail – all without having to meet a census taker. Readers can go to 2020census.gov or call 1-844-330-2020.

Completing the census is required by law of every resident, as a constitutional duty written into the United States constitution. The first census was conducted in 1790, only one year after the adoption of the constitution and the election of George Washington as our first president. It has been done every ten years since, in war and in peace, through natural disasters and epidemics.

Contrary to what uninformed residents might believe, the census is not some faraway-in-Washington-thing; the 2020 Census is important because it will determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, for the next decade.

The census count also sets the distribution rates for hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding to local governments for the next ten years. This includes everything from school district educational funding per student, to school lunch programs and road construction, to funding for the dozens of programs managed by county departments of public health and the department of human services. This includes the funding being used at this moment to help families affected by the economic fallout from the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Self-Response Rates in Colorado (as of March 31, 2020)

County                                   Percentage

Douglas County                       46.3%
Jefferson County                     45.9%
Boulder County                       44.6%
Broomfield County                 44.6%
Yuma County                           43.9%
Arapahoe County                    42.6%
Phillips County                        42.6%
El Paso County                        42.3%
Mesa County                            41.3%
Elbert County                          40.7%
Logan County                          40.3%
Fremont County                     40.3%
Larimer County                      39.9%
Delta County                           38.0%
Montrose County                   37.9%
Adams County                        37.6%
Denver County                       37.6%
Pueblo County                        37.6%
Bent County                            37.4%
Washington County               37.1%
Weld County                           36.7%
Sedgwick County                    35.6%
Garfield County                      35.1%
Otero County                          34.9%
Morgan County                      34.2%
Montezuma County              31.9%
Crowley County                     31.1%
Alamosa County                    30.2%
Chaffee County                     29.9%
Teller County                         28.1%
Rio Grande County              27.9%
Moffat County                       27.7%
Kit Carson County                27.7%
Prowers County                    27.6%
Las Animas County              27.4%
La Plata County                    27.0%
Baca County                          24.1%
Lake County                          22.6%
Gilpin County                       21.1%
Clear Creek County             21.0%
Ouray County                       20.6%
Rio Blanco County               18.7%
Kiowa County                       18.7%
Huerfano County                 17.1%
Lincoln County                     17.1%
Archuleta County                16.6%
Gunnison County                15.9%
Pitkin County                       15.5%
Custer County                      13.6%
Park County                          13.0%
Routt County                        13.0%
Conejos County                    10.8%
Eagle County                          9.0%
San Miguel County                8.3%
Cheyenne County                  8.2%
Saguache County                   7.8%
Summit County                     7.7%
Dolores County                      6.4%
Mineral County                      5.8%
Costilla County                       3.3%
Jackson County                      3.0%
San Juan County                    2.9%
Hinsdale County                    2.6%
Grand County                         1.7%