Nevadans pretty good at responding to Census; could be better

dogs count tho
Don't count your dog, but do count all the humans in the household. (Nevada Current file photo)
dogs count tho
Don’t count your dog, but do count all the humans in the household. (Nevada Current file photo)

Nevada households are responding to the 2020 Census in greater numbers than in previous years, but the state overall still lags behind the national average.

So far, 63.7 percent of households in Nevada have self-responded to the 2020 Census, compared to 64.6 percent of households nationwide. For the state overall, as well as many individual cities and counties within it, those rates reflect significant improvements of self response from the last decennial census in 2010.

Census workers have already started the process of following up with households that have not yet responded. Masked workers began going door-to-door earlier this month, according to a U.S. Census Bureau representative who gave an update to lawmakers on the interim committee on redistricting and reapportionment Thursday.

The door-knocking phase of the 2020 Census was supposed to happen over the summer but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. In April, the Census Bureau announced it would extend the deadline for completing the census to Oct. 31. That would have in turn bumped back processing deadlines that followed, including the date states receive the apportionment data used to redraw political districts.

Since then, the bureau has moved the census completion deadline up to Sept. 30 — a change some are characterizing as a Trump administration ploy to intentionally limit the count of low-income and minority populations, which typically have lower self-response rates and require follow-ups by census workers.

Nevada is considered a “hard to count” state with nearly one-third of residents falling into demographics with historically low rates of response. This includes people of color, immigrants, low-income households, limited-English speakers, single-parent households, renters and young adults.

Within Nevada, response rates varied widely by city and county.

On the high end, Henderson ranked in the top five highest self-response rates in the nation among similarly sized cities. Its response rate is currently 73.9 percent.

Boulder City and Fallon also have response rates in the low 70s.

Clark County — by far the state’s most populous county — has a response rate of 64.2 percent. Esmeralda County has the lowest response rate of all the counties in Nevada with only 14.3 percent of households self responding. Eureka and Lincoln counties followed with response rates of 22.7 percent and 32.7 percent, respectively.

April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. April currently serves on the board of the Society of Professional Journalists Las Vegas pro chapter. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, two children and three mutts.