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Stand up and be counted.  If the US Census Bureau is to be believed 99.9% of Americans have done just that in the 2020 Census.  Minnesota was #1 with the most self-responses.  New York was 26th.  63.9%of New Yorkers 'self-responded' with the rest counted in non-response follow-ups, including door to door surveying.  The ability to get counted ended this morning at 6am, after the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration could shut down the count.  But the census had already been granted a hefty extension.  The goal of the Census Bureau is to count everyone on Census Day -- April 1, 2020.  Counting 330 million people in one day does sound like an April Fools Day joke.

Experts warned that shutting down the count today would mean inaccurate results.  But if 99.9% have already been counted why should that matter? The answer may be that the federal numbers are not accurate.  Or it may be that census numbers are being politicized.  The budget for this year's census is 6.3 billion.  Dividing that by the current US population of 330,450,733 (according to the Census Bureau's US and World Population Clock), it comes to just slightly over $19 per person.
At that price the count had better be accurate!

The United States Constitution mandates a national census every ten years.  If you refuse to respond you can actually be fined up to $100.  So if 63 million patriots could wipe out the costs of the census to the taxpayers, simply by refusing to be counted (and then fined the maximum penalty).  That would be sweet for the remaining six billion two hundred thirty-seven million of us!

Census numbers are important because they determine where federal money is sent.  Theoretically the more people you have, the more money your community gets.  So under and over-counts can be harmful to local municipalities.

Census Self-response Rates

Filling out the self-reporting Web form was simple and only took a few minutes.  Being able to respond over the Internet was especially important this year because COVID-19 lock-downs made in-person interviews unsafe.  Door to door interviews were conducted, however, for people who did not self-respond. Theoretically it also saved the government some cash, although I doubt it did.

So how did we do with self-reporting?  The Town of Lansing gets high marks with a 70.2% self-response rate.  The Village of Lansing also did well with 66.4% self-responses.  Tompkins County as a whole did less well, with 63.4%, slightly lower than both the New York State self-response rate of 63.9% and the total US rate of 66.8%.  Minnesota had the highest self-response rate of all the states at 74.7%.

We all know where we were on Census Day this year.  Holed up at home for the most part.  And with so much of the population waiting out the coronavirus while twiddling our thumbs, taking a few minutes to respond to the Census online shouldn't have been a big deal.  You didn't even have to stand up and be counted.  You could do it sitting down.

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