Time to fill out your census forms, Mainers!

The Weekly Packet|06/04/2020

Time to fill out your census forms, Mainers!
Local response to census lags behind the nation
LESLIE LANDRIGAN

Maine has one of the worst response rates in the United States to the 2020 U.S. Census. The state ranks 47th among all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

As of May 31, 50.6 percent of Mainers responded to the census by phone, by email or online, according to the Census Bureau. That’s less than the national rate of 60.5 percent.

And Hancock County has the third-worst response rate among Maine counties. With a 34.1 percent response rate, it’s behind only Piscataquis and Franklin.

One reason for the state’s poor showing is that the Census Bureau suspended field operations because of the COVID19 pandemic. Since the bureau won’t mail census forms to post office boxes, rural states like Maine have had lower response rates. The Census Bureau announced in May that it has resumed fieldwork in Maine.

Local town officials say they’re concerned that if all their residents don’t respond to the census, they’ll receive fewer dollars from the federal government than they’re entitled to. Census numbers determine how much money a town will receive for schools, roads, health care, harbor dredging, seawalls, foster care and food assistance, to name a few.

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06/04/2020