Each person counted by the census equals $3,750 each year for the next 10 years. That makes a total of $37,500.
A lot of money is lost if there isn’t an accurate count.
“If only one person is undercounted in each of our 33 counties – just one is not counted – that’s a million dollars that the state loses every year. If only one person per county is undercounted,” said Pam Coleman, the chair of the Statewide Complete Count Commission and the director for the New Mexico State Personnel Office.
Coleman said New Mexico has received $7.8 billion each year following the 2010 Census.
However, the pandemic is slowing down the process this year, especially in rural areas. Coleman said about 19% of the state’s population is made up of New Mexicans who live in rural towns.
Coleman explained hand-delivered packets would be taken to the people living in rural areas since many have to pick up their mail at a post office. She said COVID-19 interrupted the delivery of those packets from happening in March. Instead, they were delivered in the end of May, beginning of June, and in July for some tribal areas.
Coleman said the goal for New Mexico is for households to self-respond at 60% to avoid sending out too many census workers out to the field for a final push to get the census done.
Earlier in August, boots hit the ground.
“If you have not self-responded, they come knock on your door with their masks — appropriately PPP’d, step back from the door and ask for the very simple 10 questions that compromise the census,” she said.
Coleman said New Mexico is doing good so far, and credits counties for stepping up a year before the 2020 Census to begin getting the word out.
You can keep track of New Mexico’s self-response percentage here. The percentages are updated every day at 1 p.m. If you still need to fill out the 2020 Census, click here.