Texas Counts drums up census support with virtual road trips

HARLINGEN —The Census 2020 virtual road show is coming to the Rio Grande Valley next week to rally support for an effort in Texas that continues to lag behind the nation.

Texas Counts is a statewide attempt to boost Census 2020 efforts by providing support, resources and strategic funding to get out the count efforts in Texas.

The organization hopes to increase self-response rates with a week of virtual rallies aimed at Census 2020 workers in regions across the state with daily online presentations in each region.

The Valley’s segment is Tuesday. “Monday we’ll be starting in the gulf coast in East Texas and then well head down to South Texas and the RGV,” said Katie Martin Lightfoot, census community engagement coordinator for Texas Counts. “On each day of the week we will be doing a regional kickoff.”

Texans, at least those who have yet to respond to Census 2020 either by mail or online, can use some encouragement, too.

As of Sunday, Texas ranks No. 41 in the United States with a household response rate of 56.1 percent. The national rate is 61.4 percent.

Here in the Valley, Cameron County has a response rate under the state average at 43.7 percent.

Hidalgo County is at 45.0 percent, and Willacy County is at 32.9 percent.

Among cities, Brownsville has a response rate of 49.7 percent, Harlingen is at 47.8 percent and McAllen is 52.2 percent.

Following East Texas and the Valley, the virtual road trip travels to the Panhandle, North Texas and then Central Texas and the Hill Country.