La Paz County has the second lowest self-reporting rate of any county in Arizona. However, a member of the La Paz Full Count Committee said that could be more of a reflection of the types of residences La Paz County has.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s website, 2020census.gov, La Paz County had a self-reporting rate of 23.1 percent on Aug. 27. The only county in the state with a lower self-reporting rate is Apache County, at 21 percent.
The Arizona self-reporting rate is 61.2 percent, while the national rate is 64.8 percent. The Town of Parker’s self-reporting rate is 46.8 percent. The self-reporting rate from the Colorado River Indian Tribes is 23.4 percent.
Amy Putnam of the Full Count Committee said this low response rate was partly due to the types of residences the county has. She noted there are a lot of people who have homes here who don’t live here all the time.
“This is a resort community,” she said. “We have a lot of people who have second homes here. They report from their other homes.”
Putnam noted April 1 was Census Day. Americans were told to self-report and use the address from wherever they were residing on that day. As many of the county’s winter visitors had already returned to their summer homes by that day, they were not included in the census for the county.
Even with this as a given, Putnam said La Paz County’s response rate was 16 points behind where it was in 2010.
“That’s a lot,” she said.
While the census is used primarily to apportion federal and state legislative districts, there are many other things it’s used for, Putnam said. Perhaps the most important of these is the census is used to determine how state and federal funds are spent.
“The lower the response rate, the lower our population appears to be, and the less money we qualify for,” Putnam said. She noted 38 percent of all county residents live in poverty.
“We need every single penny we can get,” she said. “The census is where our money comes from.”
Putnam said the census affects the quality of life for county residents.
“We all use the same services,” Putnam said. “Everybody’s response is important.”
The good news is census takers are out in the community, Putnam said. She acknowledged some people are getting visits from census takers even though they may have filled out the census forms earlier on-line. She said so many people responded on-line, it created a backlog of reports.
“You can still respond to the census,” Putnam said.
The census forms can be filled out online at 2020census.gov.