HELENA, Mont. – Montana 2020 Census partner, the Montana Nonprofit Association, is co-hosting Census events across the state in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau to encourage Montana residents to respond to the 2020 Census before the deadline of September 30. The Montana Nonprofit Association is helping to organize eight mobile questionnaire assistance events from now through September 30 in Winnett, Superior, Sheridan, Ryegate, Missoula and Pablo.
“Getting as many Montanans counted as possible in these final days of the 2020 Census is critical for our state’s future,” said Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, chairman of the State Complete Count Committee. “A big thanks to the Montana Nonprofit Association and so many partners across the state that are running through the finish line to help Montanans fill out the Census in low-response communities.”
The Montana Department of Commerce and statewide organizations including public libraries have been working for years to promote the 2020 Census and encourage Montanans to respond to the decennial count. While the state supports promotion and education about the importance of the Census, it is the federal government, through the U.S. Census Bureau, that conducts the actual count.
Most recently, using $530,500 in Coronavirus Relief Funds allocated by Governor Steve Bullock, Commerce has partnered with the Montana Nonprofit Association, Western Native Voice, Forward Montana Foundation and Missoula-based marketing agency Windfall to reach out to Montanans in hard-to-count areas of the state directly and through strategically placed billboards, social media reminders, television, radio and newspaper ads.
Early estimates showed Montana on the cusp of regaining its second congressional in the U.S. House of Representatives, but that possibility is in question now that Montana is among the bottom of states in self-responding to the 2020 Census. Montana’s self-response rate is 59.7 percent, compared to the national average of 66.2 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 particular risk of an undercount.
The Census count is also used to determine the amount of federal funding distributed to the state – overall, more than $2 billion from more than 300 federal programs is allocated back to Montana based on Census information. Census data is also used to shape local voting and school districts.
To encourage counties and tribes in Montana to compete for the highest increase in self-response rates to the 2020 Census, the Montana Department of Commerce last week launched the Montana 2020 Census State Championship, which will run through the Census deadline of September 30.
Montanans should respond to the 2020 Census today at MY2020CENSUS.GOV, by calling 1-844-330-2020, or by mailing in their paper Census form if they received one.
Find the list of upcoming Census events co-hosted by the Montana Nonprofit Association here:
- Winnett, The Breaks General Store, Sept. 23 from 2 to 6 p.m.
- Superior, Castle’s Market, Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Sheridan, Walter's Family Foods, Sept. 25 from 2 to 6 p.m.
- Ryegate, Ryegate Bar and Café, Sept. 25 from 6 to 11 p.m.
- Missoula, Ogren Park at Allegiance Field, Sept. 25 from 6 to 11 p.m.
- Superior, Castle’s Market, Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Pablo, Pablo Family Foods, Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Winnett, Winnett Bar, Sept. 30 from 2 to 5 p.m.