The 2020 census starts in a couple months, and organizers are reaching out to populations in New Mexico that historically were undercounted. A bill to spend $8 million on outreach efforts passed its first legislative hurdle on Thursday, Jan. 23.
The money would go to a social media campaign and community-led outreach efforts in counties, tribal governments and schools all over the state.
State demographer Robert Rhatigan has been prepping for the 2020 census for the last decade. He told lawmakers that for every person not counted, the state will lose tens of thousands of dollars in federal funding.
"If this campaign can motivate 214 New Mexicans who otherwise wouldn't respond to the census," Rhatigan said, "the state will see a return on its investment over the next 10 years. The commission would like to think we’re going to motivate far more than 200 people to respond to the census that otherwise wouldn’t."
The bill also calls for an emergency status so the funds could go out to community census groups immediately after getting the governor’s signature.
Starting March 12, you can fill out the census form online, over the phone or by mail. At the start of April, census workers will begin going door-to-door, too.
This story is part of the project: Your N.M. Government. Funding for our legislative coverage is provided, in part, by the Thornburg Foundation, the New Mexico Local News Fund and KUNM listeners like you.