Gov. Edwards says Louisiana’s response to 2020 Census ‘far too low’

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BATON ROUGE, La, (KTAL/AP) – Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is once again urging more Louisiana residents to respond to the 2020 U.S. Census, saying the state’s participation rate remains among the lowest in the nation.

The governor shared a similar message in June, when he said about 56 percent of Louisiana households had responded to the census online, by mail or by phone, compared to a national rate topping 61%.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 88 percent of housing units had been accounted for in the 2020 Census as of Tuesday. Louisiana’s participation rate has barely risen in that same time period, to 58.6. According to the latest data, the state remains among the bottom ten nationally, behind only Maine, New Mexico, West Virginia, Alaska, and Puerto Rico.

“It really is critical that everyone participates,” Edwards said Tuesday afternoon. “It just takes a few minutes to fill out a form. It will impact our state for the next ten years in areas of education, healthcare, transportation infrastructure, congressional representation, and so much more. And it’s important that everyone is counted. Our self-response rate is far too low right now at 58.6 percent. The total response is just over 80 percent. So it’s one of the lowest responses anywhere in the country. So we are asking people to take a few minutes, complete their census form.”

Census data, collected every ten years, determines how many members of Congress a state has and is used to divvy up significant sums of federal dollars that flow to states.

While Louisiana isn’t expected to lose a member of its congressional delegation in the updated count of residents, the numbers could be critical to the state’s continued receipt of billions in federal money spent on health care, education, social services and other programs.

As part of a final push to get people to complete their census forms, Edwards said September 9 has been declared Louisiana Census Day.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced on August 3 that it was moving up the deadline for self-responses and field data collection from October 31 to September 30.

There are three ways to respond to the 2020 Census:

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

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