Texas’ Census response lags U.S.

HARLINGEN — The 2020 Census self-response rate in Texas is running behind the numbers recorded in the previous two census surveys dating back 20 years.

U.S. Census Bureau numbers released over the weekend show Texas with a 56.6 percent response rate this year as of July 2, while the same date in 2010 and 2000 showed rates of 64.4 percent and 64.0 percent.

Texas ranks just 40th among states for selfresponse rates, which is the combined number of households that have either filled out the paper Census 2020 form and mailed it in or filed online.

Nationally, the selfresponse rate is 61.9 percent. Although it is not addressed in the latest Census 2020 data, it seems likely that the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has managed to depress household responses to this census despite the fact that for the first time households can file online.

Census takers will soon start visiting nonresponding households personally to try to close the gap between the known number of households and the households which have self-responded. Census respondents can still mail in their census form or file online through Oct. 31.

“Texas has a response rate of 56.6 percent compared to the national response rate of 61.9 percent, so we’re still a little over 5 percentage points behind the national average,” Lila Valencia, senior demographer with the Texas Demography Center, said Monday in a Zoom online meeting.

“We are tied for 40th. We have been tied at 40th since last week. We are really hoping to catch up to Mississippi,” she added. “Mississippi is about .03 percentage points away from us, so I think it’s within reach.”