Census data: MI’s self-response strong, total count lagging

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Leaders with Michigan’s “Be Counted” 2020 Census campaign released their latest round of data Tuesday, giving the state mixed reviews for its response.

Most Michiganders have done their part. The latest data from the Census Bureau shows 71.1% of all households filled out the census on their own. That’s tied with Illinois for the seventh-best response rate in the U.S.

But Michigan’s total count is still struggling, just 34th in the nation. The state would face a major funding shortage if the census wrapped up this week as previously planned.

As of Aug. 11, Michigan still had 1 million uncounted households. That number is down to approximately 20,000.

Volunteers continue their work, with the census deadline now firmly set for Oct. 31. “Be Counted” says those households represent approximately 50,000 Michiganders, translating into an estimated $150 million lost annually for the state.

Of those 50,000 Michiganders, 20,000 alone are in Wayne County and 12,000 are in Detroit, highlighting a routine obstacle for census counts.

“Our fear is that is that even with the additional three weeks through Oct. 31, the Census Bureau will not have enough staff or resources to ensure that underprivileged communities are fully counted,” said Eric Guthrie, Michigan’s demographer. “We are confident that Michigan’s wealthiest areas will be fully represented in the 2020 census. However, there is a distinct possibility that Michigan’s low-income communities will be short-changed for the next decade.”

“Be Counted” officials say the next three weeks will be spent reaching out to those uncounted households and verifying their numbers. Data is due to be delivered to Congress on Dec. 31.

People can fill out their census online.