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The 2020 census is over, and another one won’t come again for 10 years. So ends the historic counting of every person living in this county and this state during a historic pandemic, in the midst of a contentious election year.

Now the federal-level experts can begin to mull over what these results mean and begin to reapportion everything from our congressional seats to funding for highway projects, schools, and public health. The impact of the census touches hundreds of critical budgets and programs that will make a difference in the lives of ordinary people.

At this moment, the official census count of Chaffee County is a population of 20,356.

“I hope every nose and bellybutton in the county is counted accurately,” said Commissioner Keith Baker during a humorous exchange of the regular Board of County Commissioner’s (BoCC) meeting where the wrap-up was presented. “This census is critically important to the federal and state funding this county will receive for the next 10 years.”

The Chaffee County Census Coordinator April  Obholz Bergeler provided the Final Self-response Rates for Chaffee County during the BoCC work session on Nov. 9:

  Geographic area    2020 count    2010 count

  • Colorado            70%                    67.2%
  • Chaffee              58.3%                 61.0%
  • Buena Vista      59%                     70.0%
  • Poncha              56.3%                  63.8%
  • Salida                67.1%                  70.7%

In a general update for the Chaffee BoCC, Obholz Bergeler said Chaffee County was transferred to U.S. Census Bureau Partnership Specialist Renee Martinez. The census Regional Director Brian Meinhart was assigned to all of Utah, in addition to most of Western Colorado.

“Nationally, we’re at 99.98 percent complete,” said Meinhart. “Given the challenges we faced this time around, I think these self-response rates are pretty good. They may be a bit down from 2010, but I’m happy with them and with all the work you all put in.”

Obholz Bergeler has provided this link to a video thanking the residents of Chaffee County and reminding all of us why our participation was so very important.

The Chair of the Chaffee BoCC Greg Felt commended Obholz Bergeler on a job well done, noting that any obstacle that could have presented itself seemed to do so and that she had found ways through the public health crisis to keep the count going to completion.

Her full and final Chaffee County Census report to the BoCC is available here: