HELENA, Mont. – The Montana Department of Commerce today launched the 2020 Census State Championship to encourage counties and tribes in Montana to compete for the highest increase in self-response rates to the 2020 Census from now until September 30. With only 15 days left in the 2020 Census count, the Commerce Department and the Montana Complete Count Committee are urging every Montana resident to respond to the 2020 Census before the shortened deadline of September 30.
“This is the final countdown for the 2020 Census,” said Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, the Chair of the Montana Complete Count Committee. “The counties and tribes that win the 2020 Census State Championship will get not only bragging rights with a trophy to prove it, but will also receive their fair share of federal funding for the next 10 years, accurate representation in the state Legislature, and the knowledge that they contributed to the possibility of Montana regaining a second seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Game on, Montana!”
There will be two winners for counties and two winners for tribal nations based on the percentage increase in self-response rates, as well as for the increase in the number of households that respond to the 2020 Census from today until September 30. To enter the championship, Montana residents who have not yet responded to the 2020 Census can do so at MY2020CENSUS.GOV, by calling 1-844-330-2020 or by mailing in the paper form if they received one. Track each community’s progress here.
The U.S. Census Bureau suspended all field operations from March to early May to slow the spread of COVID-19, and then cut short the deadline to September 30 to respond to the Census. As a result, Montana’s self-response rate is below the national average, with 59.2 percent of Montanans having self-responded to the 2020 Census, compared to the national average of 65.9 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Even with door-to-door counting by U.S. Census workers, Montana’s overall response rate is below the national average, and tribal nations and rural counties in Montana are at risk of an undercount.
The federal government is responsible for counting all households every 10 years, while the state supports the effort to educate and promote the importance of the Census. In June, Governor Steve Bullock allocated $530,500 to the Montana Department of Commerce to continue Census education and outreach efforts.
The Montana Department of Commerce is using that funding to partner with the Montana Nonprofit Association, Western Native Voice, Forward Montana Foundation and Missoula-based marketing agency Windfall to conduct targeted outreach aimed at low self-responding areas of the state to encourage residents in those areas to fill out the Census.
For every Montanan not counted, the state stands to lose an estimated $20,000 in federal funding over the next decade. Census information is also used to draw local voting and school districts, and it determines whether Montana will receive a second seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
You can track your community’s progress in the 2020 Census State Championship here.
And respond to the 2020 Census today at MY2020CENSUS.GOV, by calling 1-844-330-2020, or by mailing in your paper Census form if you’ve received one.