Bullhead City lagging in census response rate

August 24, 2020 GMT

BULLHEAD CITY — Bullhead City trails its Mohave County counterparts in completion of the 2020 Census questionnaire, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

As of Friday, about 55% of enumerated households in Bullhead City had self-responded — completing the questionnaire via the internet, phone or mail. Kingman’s self-response rate was 72.8% and Lake Havasu City’s was 61.6%.

Bullhead City also has the lowest internet response rate of the three county municipalities, 35.9%, compared to 59% in Kingman and 46.4% in Lake Havasu City.

The U.S. Constitution mandates that the nation count its population once every 10 years. The results are used to adjust or redraw electoral districts, based on where populations have increased or decreased. State legislatures or independent bipartisan commissions are responsible for redrawing congressional districts. The U.S. Census Bureau provides states with population counts for this purpose.

ADVERTISEMENT

Census data also provides information that directs the funding of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding for a variety of programs. Data also is used at the federal, regional, state, county and municipal levels to determine needs for programs and services as well as for short-term and long-term planning.

Businesses also use the data to help make decisions on where to locate or shift resources.

Earlier this year, Bullhead City Manager Toby Cotter expressed “concern” about the self-response in the city.

“Every household in Bullhead City needs to be counted,” he said. “If forms are not filled out, enumerators will be going door-to-door as determined by the federal government when it is safe to do so. Summer in Bullhead City really is not a great time to be going door-to-door.”

He said the importance of a complete count cannot be overstated.

“These are tax dollars that you are going to be paying,” he said. “The only way to bring them back to your community is by being counted in the census.”

Mohave County’s overall self-response rate is 57.4%. That ranked Mohave fifth among the 15 counties in Arizona. Pima County, at 64.6%, Maricopa County, at 64.5%, and Yavapai County, at 63.1%, led the way. Seven of the 15 counties had self-response rates below 50% with two of those below 25% (LaPaz at 22.9% and Apache at 20.5%).

Arizona’s 60.7% self-response rate ranks 34th in the U.S., where the national average is 64.2%. So far, nearly 95 million of the country’s estimated 140 million-plus housing units have self-responded.

Minnesota (73.3%), Wisconsin (70.5%) and Washington (70.4%) are the states with the highest response rates while West Virginia (55.4%), New Mexico (54.7%) and Alaska (51.9%) are at the other end of the response spectrum.

ADVERTISEMENT

Response rates are compiled using the number of responses representing a housing unit and dividing by the number of estimated housing units in a geographical area. Those estimates come from previous census data as well as annual community surveys.

Door-to-door gathering of information by Census workers began earlier this month in most parts of the country. Non-response follow-up field work by Census 2020 enumerators, considered essential for a complete, accurate count, originally was to begin in May but was delayed three months because of public health concerns — to workers as well as respondents — caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.