NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The deadline to fill out the 2020 Census has been extended to Oct. 5. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, New Mexico’s self-response rate for the 2020 Census is 57.5% as of September 22. This puts the state below the national average.

This year, Minnesota was leading the nation with a 74.7% self-response rate. Alaska had the worst rate at 54% while West Virginia had a self-response rate of 56%, making them the only two states with worse rates than New Mexico.

According to the nonprofit child advocacy organization, NM Voices, New Mexico has always been a hard-to-count state as many residents live in difficult to reach rural areas and speak languages other than English. Additionally, the state faces several other challenges including limited broadband infrastructure, high rates of poverty, and high rates of undocumented persons that hinder the census count.

Medicaid is a program that’s led by the census in addition to nutrition, housing, job, and education programs. NM Voices reports that due to an undercount in the 2010 Census, New Mexico missed out on $1,121 per year for each child who was not counted.

In 2010, New Mexico’s final self-response rate for the census was 60%.

Happening every 10 years, the U.S. Census aims to count every person living in the United States once and in the correct place. This is done by completing a 2020 Census questionnaire which the Census Bureau estimates takes about 10 minutes to complete.

The Census Bureau is required by law to protect your information and will not release your responses that could identify your household. Responses to the census will only be used to produce statistics and an accurate census is crucial as it’s used to determine the distribution of federal dollars and political representation for the next 10 years.

According to ICountNM, if New Mexico undercounts residents by just 1%, the state would lose $780 million. You can take the 2020 U.S. Census online, by mail, or by phone by calling 1-844-330-2020. If you are unable to respond to your census online by mail or by phone, a Census worker will visit your home to help you complete it. The census will conclude by October 5.

As of Sept. 22, 2020, New Mexico census report:

  • percent of housing units self-response rate 57.5%
  • percent of housing units enumerated in nonresponse follow-up 35.5%
  • percent of housing units enumerated 93%
  • Bernalillo County self response rate 70.2%