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Iowa in top three for Census response rate

Iowa and Webster County are showing promising response rates for the 2020 United States Census so far, officials say.

Iowa’s response rate of 66.6% is the third-highest among all states, with about 980,000 households in the state counted already. The national average is currently 59.6%.

Webster County’s response rate was 63.6% as of Tuesday, up from 44% in early April. Fort Dodge’s response was 62.3% as of Wednesday.

The 2020 census is the first one to be completed mostly online. Follow-up functions in the Census Bureau’s timeline will be delayed by health risks posed by coronavirus.

Local officials encourage everyone to take just a few minutes to participate in the survey to help their cities and county.

“We want to ensure everyone’s counted,” Webster County Supervisor Mark Campbell said previously to The Messenger. “It’s imperative that every person take the time to fill it out.”

Campbell said that multiple sources of road funding, grant funding and federal funding can be made or broken by just one number: the official population count.

Local option sales tax and road use taxes, revenue streams for widely-used public services and local infrastructure maintenance, are allocated to cities by state distribution according to population.

The self-response phase has been extended until Aug. 14 due to COVID-19. Non-response follow-ups and counts of those experiencing homelessness or transience started this month, about a month later than planned.

Most of Fort Dodge has already received an envelope in the mail from the Census Bureau containing a unique online code for their household to complete the survey either online or over the phone. Those who do not complete it will receive a paper form in the coming weeks that they can fill out and mail back to participate.

To learn more about how you can help, go to my2020Census.gov or call 844-330-2020.

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