SANTA FE ― Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham Tuesday ordered the establishment of the New Mexico 2020 Complete Count Commission for the 2020 U.S. Census in an effort to ensure an accurate and complete count.
The 2020 Census will be the first to gather a majority of responses online. This poses a particular challenge to New Mexico, already considered a “hard-to-count” state, as many rural areas do not have adequate or reliable internet access. The Complete Count Commission will convene quarterly and serve as a resource for local community outreach efforts aimed at counting every New Mexican.
“Almost four in five Native Americans in New Mexico live in what are considered ‘hard-to-count’ Census tracts, as does more than half our Hispanic population,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “We need to do everything we can to ensure the 2020 count accurately and fairly reflects our state population and that New Mexico receives every federal dollar to which we are entitled. A one-percent under count would cost us hundreds of millions over the next decade. We’re starting early, and we want every community in the state on board in fighting for our collective resources.”
The commission, composed of state Cabinet secretaries as well as tribal and other community representatives, will promote and advertise the Census; focus resources on hard-to-count areas and populations; support and coordinate with local complete count committees; and guide the disbursement of resources as a means of ensuring the highest participation rate possible.
The latest Census estimates project that roughly 43 percent of New Mexico’s population — or 900,000 people — lives in “hard-to-count” areas.
New Mexico receives $7.8 billion annually from the 16 largest federal programs that distribute funds on the basis of decennial Census-derived statistics, including critical health and education programs as well as funds for highway and road construction.