MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock and Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney applauded a decision by a U.S. District Court yesterday evening to extend the deadline for the 2020 Census to allow more time for a complete count of Montana’s residents and announced additional funding for Census outreach.
“A complete count in the 2020 Census is a foundational part of shaping Montana’s next decade,” Governor Bullock said. “More time will help our state regain some of the ground we’ve lost due to COVID-19 to secure our fair share of federal funding for critical things like health care, schools and roads, and to ensure our local school and voting districts accurately reflect the people who live in them. An accurate count of our residents could even amount to more representation in our democracy for Montanans. I strongly urge the federal administration not to discount entire communities in rural states like Montana and let this decision stand.”
“We are pulling out all the stops to encourage every Montanan to make sure they’re counted in this once-in-a-decade opportunity, and we will take full advantage of every day we can get,” said Lt. Governor Cooney, who is the chairman of the State Complete Count Committee. “With all the goal-post-moving throughout this process, it’s critical to stay focused on what’s truly important: ensuring Montanans are represented at every level of government. And that starts with a complete Census count.”
Governor Bullock also announced he is allocating $130,000 in Coronavirus Relief Funds to the Montana Department of Commerce to continue its expanded outreach efforts to reach low-response areas of the state, particularly in rural counties and tribal nations in Montana. In June, Governor Bullock directed $530,500 in Coronavirus Relief Funds to the Montana Department of Commerce to support Census promotion and outreach.
Governor Bullock and Lt. Governor Cooney urged U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in an August letter to uphold the U.S. Census Bureau’s commitment to a complete count following disruptions to the Bureau’s operations due to COVID-19.
As the fourth-largest state in the nation, with disruptions from COVID-19, and with more than a quarter of the state’s residents not receiving Census information because they get their mail at non-traditional addresses, Montana’s self-response rate to the 2020 Census lags behind most states. As of today, Montana’s self-response rate is 59.7 percent, compared to the national average of 66.3 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Including door-to-door counting by federal Census workers, the total number of Montana households enumerated so far is 91.9 percent, compared to the national average of 96.6 percent.
The federal government is responsible for conducting the decennial count, while the state supports the effort to inform Montanans about the importance of the Census.
Respond to the 2020 Census now at my2020census.gov or by calling 1-844-330-2020.