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Chaffee County Census Coordinator April Obholz Bergeler, reported Tuesday morning June 16 that the county has hit a U.S. 2020 Census milestone.  More than half of Chaffee County households have self-responded to the 2020 Census. The exact response percentage to date: 53.9 percent.

Everyone Counts Colorado Census 2020 Photo Courtesy of

The 2020 United States Census has faced some public health hurdles this year. The once-a-decade count of the population of the United States has been hampered by the coronavirus known as COVID-19. The situation caused the U.S. Census to suspend hand-delivery operations, which it didn’t resume until May 18. Having the bureau back in the field appears to have made a big difference locally.

Salida leads the county and is currently at a 62.9  percent self-response rate.

All of Poncha Springs and about 24 percent of Buena Vista are in a hand-delivery area, meaning these residents recently received the 2020 Census invitation on their front doors versus in a mailbox earlier this spring. The resumption of field operations has improved census compliance in those areas. In a matter of only four days, Buena Vista’s rate jumped from 37.1 to 52.3 percent and Poncha Springs soared from 20.1 to 48.1 percent.

Colorado’s current self-response rate is 64.6 percent. For the 2010 Census, Colorado’s final self-response rate was 67.2 percent and Chaffee County’s 2010 final self-response rate was 61 percent.  With continued participation, Colorado has time to add significant improvement to its 2010 response rate.

The 2020 Census began in March 2020, and with the extensions due to COVID-19, it will continue through Oct. 31. The original deadline was July 31, which was extended due to the delays caused by COVID-19.

“The Decker Fire and COVID-19 situations shine a spotlight on the challenges our community can face and the reliance we have on state and federal funding,” said Chaffee County Commissioner Greg Felt. “To continue to provide quality emergency response, we have to receive funding commensurate with our needs. The census helps enumerate that need and is the foundational metric that guides many of the grant decisions for our county.”

Each completed census form will bring in approximately $2,300 per year to Colorado for important community programs. For Chaffee County, a good census can lead to federal funding for public safety, economic development, highway maintenance, education, and much more.

This good news is balanced with this fact: 46.1 percent of the county’s households have yet to respond.

County residents can complete their census form online at, or complete the census by phone at 844-330-2020, or mail in their paper questionnaire.

Those with questions about the 2020 Census should contact April Obholz Bergeler, Chaffee County U.S. census coordinator, at 303-359-4729 or