TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - There’s only 2 weeks left to respond to the 2020 Census, but right now the numbers aren’t looking good.
Chicanos Por La Causa and LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) are going to be canvassing areas, starting with the community of South Tucson Saturday, to ensure that every household participates in the Census count.
“It’s a frustratingly low response rate,"said President of Chicanos Por La Causa, Lydia Aranda. “If it’s low, we are in more trouble in the sense of fewer resources than we have right now.”
Richard Estrada III, National LULAC Youth President, stated, “An accurate Census count will have a tremendous impact on our state and local communities for the next decade, from funding to political representation.” He continued, “The programs that are being funded are the same programs that will touch my everyday life in the next ten years like schools, social service programs, and funding for the grown of state and local governments as I enter the workforce in the next ten years.”
The groups are targeting hard-to-count communities across Southern Arizona and provide proper information about who should participate.
“The fact of the matter is everyone regardless of status, regardless of where they are in the process of being a permanent resident or going from that to citizenship none of this is a disqualifier," said Aranda.
Right now, Arizona’s response rate is abysmal. According to the most recent data from the Census website, Arizona is the 5th worst state for total responses at 82.8 percent. Idaho is in the lead at 98.9 percent.
So are self-responses in Southern Arizona communities.
Pima County’s self-response rate is 65.9%
Santa Cruz County’s self-response rate is 56.7%
Cochise County’s self-response rate is 60.2%
The city of Tucson self-response rate is 63.3%
The city of Nogales self-response rate is 53.8%
The city of Sierra Vista self-response rate is 69.4%
The town of Marana self-response rate is 69.9%
The town of Oro Valley self-response rate is 77.2%
The pandemic hasn’t helped either, with fewer census workers door knocking.
“Volunteers are really what’s needed because the paid staff of the us census is dwindling quickly and their going to be pulled out of the field,” said Aranda.
Arizona poses many unique challenges when it comes to counting, like several rural areas, tribal communities, and being a border state
“It’s a little bit harder to get out into those rural areas, it’s a little bit harder to ensure people are counted and to get people to understand that they matter.”
But it can’t be used as an excuse, especially as Aranda said we head into life post-pandemic and need the resources and funding accurate census data can provide.
“We are on the path to post-COVID realities and those are economic realities educational realities and the surrounding support services in communities everywhere.”
One of many reasons why being counted this year, counts in the years to come.
“It makes a world of difference for 10 years to come and beyond," said Aranda.