Created: February 22, 2020 10:11 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— In a few short weeks, the U.S. Census Bureau will begin sending out postcards to remind people to fill out their census form.
Census officials know that the count can affect everything from food stamps to healthcare, so they said they are trying to tap into populations that are sometimes under counted.
“Historically we know that New Mexico has been one of the most difficult states to count and so with that there's been extra initiative and push to make sure that everyone is counted and all of those voices are seen,” said Brandale Mills, a US Census Bureau Media Specialist.
This is the first year that people will be able to fill out the census online. Brandale said there has been an extra focus on counting people who live in rural communities.
“This year celebrates the 150th anniversary that African Americans got the right to vote in this country, so with that agency in power that comes with voting there's also a sense of agency in power that comes with responding to the census,” Mills said. “We're encouraging black communities across the nation, especially here in Albuquerque and New Mexico, the importance of responding to the census and how those accurate responses could positively impact their communities.”
The state allocated $8 million this year to help with census efforts after already allocating $3.5 million last year.
“The state has their own complete count committee and they have been dedicated to really mobilizing and engaging community organizations, nonprofit organizations and equipping them with the tools and funding to engage the communities they serve and so recently we've seen that the governor has signed additional funding to be sent for census efforts,” Mills said.
State officials said even a one percent undercount could result in a loss of $780 million in federal funding for New Mexico.
Right now, that state receives at least $7.8 billion a year through dozens of federal programs that rely on census data.
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