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Government & Politics

Montana Census Results Continue To Trail National Average

A map showing the self response rates from households to the 2020 Census by phone, mail or online.
U.S. Census Bureau
While 60 percent of households in the U.S. have completed the once in a decade count, Montana’s statewide response rate lags behind at 51 percent.";

Just over half of Montana households have responded to the 2020 U.S. Census, according to the state Department of Commerce. The state still trails the national response rate.

While 60 percent of households in the U.S. have completed the once in a decade count, Montana’s statewide response rate lags behind at 51 percent.

At the county level, Yellowstone has the highest rate of participation at 68 percent while Petroleum has the lowest with less than 12 percent. 

The 2020 U.S. Census will determine Montana’s share of federal funding over the next ten years, shape local voting districts and determine whether Montana will get another representative in Congress. For every Montana resident counted, the state expects to recieve $20,000 over the next decade to fund schools. healtcare and highways. 

Census organizers have said that the lower than expected participation this year is largely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The agency pushed pause on its field operations in March in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and adhere to shelter at home orders across the country. 

Like other rural states, Montana largely depends on census field workers to get the word out.

The U.S. Census Bureau reopened some of its Montana offices in early May after the state started lifting restrictions related to COVID-19. The bureau estimates 200,000 households will receive official packets on their doorsteps in the coming weeks.

The form, which takes about 10 minutes to fill out, can also be completed online at my2020census.gov or by phone at 1-844-330-2020.

Census workers will make up to six attempts to get a complete 2020 questionnaire for each household. 

The bureau extended its deadline for household responses to Oct. 31.