Efforts to get Michigan residents to take part in the 2020 U.S. census appear to be paying off.
The Census Bureau says 52% of all households statewide have completed their questionnaires as of April 6, five days after the decennial count of the nation’s population officially began. Responses can be submitted by mail, by phone, or online.
Only Wisconsin and Minnesota have higher response rates so far.
Michigan’s 2020 Census Director, Kerry Ebersole Singh, says that’s a good start.
“Our census count helps determine how much money the federal government sends back to our communities.” — Kerry Ebersole Singh, Michigan’s 2020 Census Director.
Federal programs that rely on census data for funding include Medicaid, Medicare, senior nutrition programs, food and housing assistance, education and highway construction. The census also determines how many seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representative.
Michigan, which once had 19 seats, now has 14 after losing at least one seat in each census since 1980.
Click on the player above to hear an interview with Michigan’s Census Director Kerry Ebersole Singh on what’s fueling the state’s response rate.
Livingston County (63.3%) had the highest response rate among Michigan’s 83 counties. In Metro Detroit, Macomb County was second (62%), Oakland County ranked fourth (59.9%) and Wayne County was 31st (49.2%).
Huntington Woods had the highest response rate among Michigan cities (77.8%), and the fifth-highest rate among all U.S cities.
While she’s pleased with the participation from suburban communities, Singh says state and local officials have a lot of work in urban and rural parts of the state.
Detroit, which had one of the worst response rates among large American cities in the 2010 census, is currently ahead of Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York. More than a third (37.5%) of Detroit’s households have answered the 2020 census.
Singh says one of the biggest challenges in getting an accurate count this year is the coronavirus pandemic. The Census Bureau has suspended its field operations nationwide and has delayed its door-to-door campaign until mid-May. Singh acknowledges that even if the situation improves by then, some people might still be afraid to open their doors to a census taker. That’s why she’s urging Michigan residents to complete the census before someone comes a-knocking.
“If you don’t want the dogs to bark or your dinner to be interrupted, please complete that census form by April 30,” Singh says.