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The U.S. Census Bureau was to stop collecting census data at the end of Thursday, and according to local census officials, Bexar County is essentially 100 percent counted.
“As of Oct. 13, according to the federal Census Bureau folks, we were well over 99.9 percent of housing units being accounted for for the 2020 census,” said Dwayne Robinson, Bexar County’s liaison with the U.S. Census Bureau.
Only 67.1 percent of households responded to the 2020 census on their own. Census workers gathered the rest of the responses by knocking on doors and collecting data in person over the past weeks. But Bexar County’s self-response rate did increase slightly from that of 2010, Robinson said.
“As the Bexar County 2020 census liaison, I wish we could have done better with our self-response score,” Robinson said. “That was the goal: to increase the self-response from 2010, which we did. But I wanted to increase it at a higher number.”
But the coronavirus pandemic hampered the census response, as did a series of court and Census Bureau decisions that changed the final census data collection deadline.
On Oct. 3, a U.S. district judge had ordered census data collection to continue through Oct. 31. But on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Census Bureau could conclude its collection efforts on Thursday.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous,” Robinson said of the frequent deadline changes. But the primary obstacle to getting a higher self-response rate from Bexar County residents was definitely the coronavirus pandemic, he said.
“All things considered, we did pretty good,” he said.
After the census is officially concluded, Robinson plans to put together a report for the commissioners court and his successor in 2030 to review. One of his findings was the importance of state funding for census outreach, he said. With a 62.6 percent self-response rate statewide, Texas ranked 39th among other states.
“When I look at how the county’s self-response numbers were and the state’s were compared to other states that received dollars from their state legislatures, it’s critically important for us to receive support from our state government,” Robinson said.
According to the Census Bureau, 99.9 percent of households across the United States have been counted for the 2020 census.
People who have not yet responded to the census can still do so at my2020census.gov until 4:59 a.m. Central Time on Friday, which is 11:59 p.m. Hawaiian standard time.