Response Countdown: As Census 2020 deadline looms, Texas moving up

Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell asks a caller questions from the census questionnaire Monday for the 2020 Census Telethon event at the Cameron County Courthouse.(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

HARLINGEN — Texas continues to rise in the rankings for Census 2020, with the state now listed as 33rd in the nation with a total response rate of 95.2 percent of households.

Census enumerators going door-to-door will stop on Sept. 30. The deadline for self-responding online by households is also Sept. 30, although households may still respond via mailing in census forms through Oct. 7.

“Currently in terms of self-response, Texas is sitting at 61.7 percent as of yesterday,” Katie Lightfoot Martin of the Center for Public Policy Priorities and Texas Counts, said Monday.

“With that I did want to share that in addition to self-response, 33.4 percent is the share of units that have been resolved via Non-Response Follow Up, and as a reminder, that’s when the Census Bureau is going door-to-door and doing that interview in person,” she said.

The Non-Response Follow Up is particularly crucial to a maximum census response in Texas, much of which is considered a hard-to-count area.

“So when we look at combining the self-response rate with our Non-Response Follow Up work the bureau has been doing, 95.2 percent is the total share of housing units that have been enumerated in Texas as of yesterday, so again we’re not quite at 100 percent yet, and we have a little over a week left currently with the 2020 Census,” she added.

Nationally, Texas has now raised its total response rate just below the national mark of 95.4 percent. That percentage means 97.8 million households nationwide have now responded.

Here in the Valley, Cameron County’s self-response rate is 51.0 percent, which is below the final self-response rate of 56.4 percent it produced in 2010.

Combined self-response and enumerated response rates are not yet available. But the Census Bureau announced Monday that 85 percent of households in Cameron and Hidalgo counties which have not self-responded have been counted by in-person enumerators.

In Willacy County, the self-response rate has risen to 41.6 percent, which is down from the 50.6 percent rate in Census 2010.

Hidalgo County’s self-response rate is the highest in the Valley at 5t3.0 percent, but still off the 55.9 percent recorded in 2010.

Starr County is at 47.6 percent, which is actually above the self-response rate recorded there during Census 2010, which was 45.5 percent.

Among cities in the Valley, Brownsville’s self-response rate stands at 58.0 percent, down from the 66.3 percent the city recorded in Census 2010.

Harlingen stands at a self-response rate of 54.2 percent, down from 62.3 percent in 2010.

McAllen has moved over the 60-percent threshold for self-responses, coming in at 60.1 percent. In 2010, the city had a final self-response rate of 65.6 percent.