Litchfield Park continues leading West Valley households in self-responding to the 2020 Census, with a response rate of 69.9% as of Sunday, July 26, the latest statistics available.
El Mirage remained at the bottom of the list on U.S. Census Bureau’s online tracker, 2020census.gov/en/response-rates, at 54.6%; Goodyear was fourth with 64.4%.
The national self-response rate was 62.6% and Arizona’s rate was 59.3%. Maricopa County’s response rate was 63.1%, above the national average.
The census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and has been every conducted every 10 years since 1790, when 650 U.S. marshals carried out the first count. This year marks the first time people can fill out their census questionnaires online in addition to responding by phone or by mail.
As of July 26, more than 92.5 million households across the nation had filled out their questionnaires, according to the census website. Of those self-responses, 52% were online. Maricopa County’s online rate was 53.8%
Minnesota ranked first in self-responses at 71.9%. Arizona ranked 33rd at 59.3%.
Households that do not respond will receive a visit by a census-taker. Arizona’s schedule is still to be determined, but the Census Bureau reported on its website household visits in most states will begin in August.
For information on identifying census workers, click here.
Why the count is important
Completing the census questionnaire is not only required by the U.S. Constitution, it also ensures that communities across the country get their fair share of billions in federal tax dollars and population-based state-shared funds. An undercount could mean the loss of millions of dollars to Arizona, its counties and cities, resulting in fewer programs and services.
According to the Census Bureau, the census impacts nearly every aspect of life in America, including:
Congressional representation. A larger population may mean a larger voice in Congress. A fast-growing state like Arizona could pick up another seat in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives based on the 2020 count.
States’ share of $675 billion in federal tax revenue distribution. Based on the 2010 Census, Arizona receives $2,959 per person in federal dollars annually. That money funds everything from Medicare and other healthcare programs for children and adults, to Head Start and school lunches, to road, highway and other infrastructure projects. For every Arizonan not counted, the state stands to lose $887 in federal funding, according to azcensus2020.gov, the state’s informational website on the 2020 Census. If just 1% of the state’s population is undercounted, Arizona would lose $62 million annually, for a total loss of $620 million through 2030, the website states.
Commerce. Businesses use the data collected to determine where to open new stores, restaurants, factories and offices, where to expand operations, where to recruit employees, and which products and services to offer.
Real estate. Developers use census data to decide where and what type of housing to build based on population count and community demographics.
Grassroots. Residents use census data to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life and consumer advocacy.
The final day of the 2020 count is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 31. It was originally scheduled for Friday, July 31, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Census Bureau to shut down operations in mid-March and revamp its count schedules. Congress approved the bureau’s request to push back the final day of the county, and extended the deadline for delivering apportionment counts to the president and Congress from Dec. 31, 2020, to April 30, 2021. The deadline for delivering redistricting data to the states will be July 31, 2021, according to the census website.
Population-based allocations from four state shared revenues (sales, income, vehicle license and gas taxes) help the city provide services like recreation programming, parks maintenance and development, police and fire, and street repairs and maintenance, among others. An accurate census count ensures that each city receives its share of those revenues.
The 2010 Census recorded Litchfield Park’s population as 5,476. The 2015 mid-decade count recorded the city’s population as 6,152, and in 2019, the population was estimated at 6,809. In March, Management Assistant Sonny Culbreth predicted the population will top 7,000.
“At $344 per person, that would be an additional $500,000,” in the city’s general fund budget annually, Assistant City Manager Matthew Williams said.
As required by the Census Act, the U.S. Census Bureau submitted a list of questions to Congress on March 29, 2018. Based on those questions, the 2020 Census will ask:
Kelly O’Sullivan can be reached at 760-963-1697 or firstname.lastname@example.org.