Why the Stakes are Higher Than Ever for the 2020 Census

Why the Stakes are Higher Than Ever for the 2020 Census

By U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)

The outbreak of COVID-19 has challenged Colorado like no event in living memory. Although its impact on our health care system, schools, and social services has rightly received the most attention, we cannot take our eyes off another issue affecting them all: the 2020 census.

Since our founding over 230 years ago, Americans have stood up to be counted in times of war and times of peace, amidst dustbowls and depressions, and during moments of collective fear and hope for the nation. They stood up in difficult moments like our own, not only because the Constitution requires it, but because democracy depends on it. The Founders understood that you cannot represent the people if you do not know who and where they are.

In our time, the 2020 census is critical for Colorado because it helps determine the federal representation and resources we receive.

It has direct influence over our voice in Washington. Every decade, census data informs how many congressional districts each state receives. Some states gain seats while others lose them. After years of booming growth, Colorado stands an excellent chance to gain a seat and strengthen our influence in Washington – but only if we count everyone.

Similarly, census data also influences nearly every federal and state dollar our communities receive. That could mean more money – or less – for essential state and county programs including Medicaid, housing vouchers, free or reduced school meals, grants for community projects, and support for our farmers and transportation projects.

Given the stakes, all of us need to stand up and be counted. The good news is that, in 2020, it’s easier than ever to do so. This month, every household will receive an invitation by mail to respond to the census, as they have in the past. However, you will now also have the option to respond online, by mail, or by phone. These expanded options mean that, despite Colorado’s stay-at-home order, you can still easily participate. In fact, the extra time at home gives us the perfect opportunity to gather with our families and respond.

As you do that, it’s important that you have the right information. Like the pandemic, there has been a lot of misinformation about the census. Here are the facts: any personal information you provide to the census will remain strictly confidential and will not be shared nor used for any other purpose. Everyone can and should participate, including immigrants. There is no question on the census about citizenship status. 

I recognize that, in this unsettled moment, completing the census may feel like a distant priority. But we should ask ourselves what will happen if we fail to count everyone in our state. It would mean less funding for our schools, hospitals, and social services, which need our support now more than ever. It would mean a weaker voice in Washington for our priorities and our values as Coloradans. Finally, it would mean that we would not receive the representation and resources we deserve. That outcome is entirely in our hands.

Like generations of before us, let’s step up even in this difficult time and count everyone in 2020.

Census Stats as of 4/6

To date, 48.5% of Colorado households have self-responded to the 2020 Census. The national self-response rate is 45.1%. 

Top 2020 Census Self-Response Rates by State 

  1. Minnesota, 54.5%
  2. Wisconsin, 52.4%
  3. Michigan, 51.8%
  4. Virginia, 51%
  5. Iowa, 50.9%
  6. Nebraska, 50.8%
  7. Utah, 50.2%
  8. Illinois, 49.8%
  9. Washington, 49.7%
  10. Kansas, 49.6%
  11. Ohio, 49.1%
  12. Indiana, 48.8%
  13. Colorado, 48.5%
  14. Maryland, 48.2%
  15. Idaho, 48.1%

It has never been easier to respond to the 2020 Census on your own, whether online, by phone, or by mail – all without having to meet a census taker. We encourage Coloradans to self-respond as soon as possible and make Colorado the state with the highest 2020 Census self-response rate in the nation! Go to 2020census.gov or call 1-844-330-2020 and cross it off your TO DO list today. 

Top 2020 Census Self-Response Rates by Colorado County 

  1. Douglas County, 59.7%
  2. Jefferson County, 59.5%
  3. Broomfield County, 57%
  4. Boulder County, 56.1%
  5. Arapahoe County, 54.3%
  6. El Paso County, 52.8%
  7. Elbert County, 52.8%
  8. Yuma County, 51.2%
  9. Larimer County, 50.5%
  10. Mesa County, 50.4%
  11. Phillips County, 49.7%
  12. Adams County, 49.2%
  13. Logan County, 48.2%
  14. Fremont County, 48.1%
  15. Denver County, 48%


  • The 2020 Census is a short questionnaire that asks about who lives in your household as of April 1, 2020. 
  • The 2020 Census requires counting a diverse and growing population in the United States and the five U.S. territories.
  • The 2020 Census is important because it will determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, inform hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade.
  • Responding to the 2020 Census is safe and secure. Individual responses are confidential and protected by law.
  • Later this year, the U.S. Census Bureau plans to send census takers to visit households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census to help them complete questionnaires. 
  • The current deadline to respond to the 2020 Census is August 14, 2020.

About Staff

They call me "NewsHound IV," because I'm a clever Finnegan, sniffing out stories all over the Boulder area. I love Jewish holidays because the food is GREAT, especially the brisket. Well all the food. I was a rescue pup and glad to be on the scent!

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