Vicki Clayton with the U.S. Census Bureau directs operations in six counties in west central Minnesota. She is shown at a previous meeting of the Stevens County Board of Commissioners holding the Census form that was mailed to County households this spring. (Photo: Marshall Hoffman)

Vicki Clayton with the U.S. Census Bureau shared with the Stevens County Board of Commissioners at their regular meeting Tuesday her concerns about previous Census response rates in the County. Clayton oversees Census operations in a six-county area and noted that a variety of government funding is tied in with the Census count, as well as Congressional representation. Minnesota was on the verge of losing a Congressional seat following the last Census.

“There are some specific areas that are of high concern,” said Clayton. “Of my six counties, to be honest, Stevens County has the highest low-response rate. So your county did not respond as well as the other counties that I mentioned.”

The Census Bureau offers some incentive items for low-response counties to help promote Census participation, and Clayton said Stevens qualifies for such items. The main Census has only a few questions, by law must be kept confidential and not shared with other federal agencies, and will be conducted primarily in the spring. Households will be able to respond online for the first time, as well as by mail or phone.

Clayton also said the entire region needs more Census workers, which are temporary jobs. The pay rate was increased from $14 per hour to $18.50 per hour. Those interested may apply at 2020census.gov/jobs.

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