SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The 2020 Census deadline is just 15 days away. But, with that timeline comes some good news.
Missouri complete count committee chair Karen Best says the Show-Me State currently has a 94.8 percent response rate. Ozarks First’s David Chasanov spoke with some people in Springfield today. Some say they’ve filled out the Census, like Patrick Willis.
“A, it’s the law,” Willis said. “If you don’t do it, you get in trouble. I also just do it to get it done.”
Others haven’t filled out their Census, like Hayley Rodney.
“I haven’t really got the chance to,” Rodney said. “I’ve been busy.”
Regardless, Willis and Rodney want the same thing: Public service improvements.
“In ways of making sure that the community and everybody works together,” Rodney said. “Making sure it’s clean and that everybody’s safe.”
“If I know, one of the things is road improvement,” Willis said. “And, on some roads in Greene County, it’s not paved. I’m on one of them.”
Best says Missouri’s 2020 Census response rate is about 20 percent higher than in 2010; she says Greene and Christian County are doing a great job this year. The census dashboard reports Greene county having a 70.4 response rate. Christian county has the second-highest response rate in the state, 79 percent. Saint Charles ranks first at 81.1 percent. Best says the higher response rate this year could be due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Knowing how important it is for hospitals and schools to receive funding is really important for our communities,” Best said. “And, maybe with what’s going on in our world, that’s hitting a finer note with folks when it comes to filling out their Census. It just seems like people are really getting on board this year.”
Rates are lower in rural areas like Carter and Hickory Counties.
“If you go out to the outer lying areas, to our smaller communities, that response rate goes down,” Aaron Scott with Community Foundation of the Ozarks, a non-profit working to promote the Census said. “But, the internet availability goes down as well.”
Scott says another challenge is COVID-19 – for door-to-door Census workers.
“The fact remains that it’s important for everyone to respond to the Census,” Scott said. “Hopefully, if you have a good internet connection, you can do so easily online. And if not, hopefully, there’s somebody that’s stopping by to take your response in person.