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El Paso & Texas risk being undercounted, underfunded as Census deadline is shortened

census information
Reuters via CNN
A person holds census information.

EL PASO, Texas -- The U.S. Census deadline has been cut from Oct. 31 to Sept. 30 as the Census Bureau looks to accelerate the completion of data collection by the statutory deadline of Dec. 31.

"I can't stress enough how important the census is to fill out, this isn't even a political issue this is an issue that Republicans and Democrats stand behind because this means real dollars for our community," said state Rep. Claudia Ordaz Perez.

The state of Texas is lagging behind the national average response rate at only 58.9%, while the country has a self-response rate of 63.8%. Currently El Paso County is topping Texas with a response rate at 62.5%, but that is still behind the national average.

As a whole, Texas ranks 39th in the country for response rate - something that could hurt the state by losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in funding. According to officials, a 1% under-count could cost Texas $300 million per year in federal funding.

"If we get an opportunity to get this free funding just by filling out this 10-minute census, it goes a long way and we only have one opportunity to do so once every ten years," Ordaz-Perez said.

A portion of $675 billion in federal funds to support resources, programs and services are at stake for the next ten years.

Observers note that it's troubling that the city and the state are both falling behind on census reporting - not only on a national average, but on their own reported numbers from 10-years ago.

A decade ago, Texas reported a 64.4% response rate while El Paso reported a a 70.8% response rate. Hindering the response efforts is the outbreak of Covid-19, limiting census collectors from going door to door for a vast part of the year.

"Not only are they tasked with getting to as many houses as they can, they are also going at a time when people are already preoccupied with the fact that we are starting to see students go back to a digital learning form," said Elizabeth O'Hara, a co-chair for the complete count committee.

If you have not filled out the census yet, you can still do so until Sept. 30. You can fill it out online by following this link.

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JC Navarrete

El Paso native JC Navarrete co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend newscasts and reports during the week.



  1. We like El Paso the way it is. Pro immigrant, pro Mexican, pro BLM, And we think Trump and his followers are dumb morons. Trump can send 25k and we’ll take it and still vote Biden2020.

    1. Biden will never be President of anything. That senile old fart can’t remember what state he is in. Last night’s jike of a convention was more like an infomercial. They wouldn’t even let him go live, he was tape-delayed so they could edit out his gaffes and loss of memory.

      1. He has serious cognitive impairment. Biden will get slaughtered in November just like what happened to McGovern in 1972. The Democraps are just too rabid and delusional to see the trainwreck coming. Alberto’s TDS will be off the charts on November 4.

    1. There is no excuse not to complete the census. There have been plenty of television and radio advertisements. It should be a requirement to fill it out before you receive your tax refund and/or your stimulus check.

          1. Right. I like law and order. Some people just talk about it. Scum should be brought to account.

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