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 gave an update to the Stevens County Board of Commissioners at their regular meeting on Tuesday about how the county is doing so far in the once-every-decade headcount. She said 51.5 percent of Stevens County residents have self-responded, and most residents have responded on the internet. But Clayton raised concerns about reaching those who get their mail at a Post Office box, and worried that some of those people may have missed the Census Bureau mailings that were sent out.

“If a person gets their mail at a Post Office box, then a Census taker has to come out and bring that to their actual residency,” said Clayton. “And so, those field operations were in effect for about a week, and then everything was shut down because of the COVID. So some people at Post Office boxes got their information, and some have not. Everyone can respond at the safety of their own home. Anyone can go to the website 2020Census.gov and they just click on the Respond Now button.”

Students who attend the U of M Morris should be counted as residents of the county, and Clayton said the university should be contacted if they haven’t already by Census officials to see how they are reaching out to their students. In 2010, the self-responding rate for Stevens County was 76 percent, a number Census officials would like to see improved.

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