“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 5/29/20
A fully realized census is essential to every state in the union, and subsequently every citizen of every state, as it determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House and is also used to determine the proportional distribution of billions in federal funds to local communities. The pandemic, and the associated setbacks to collection efforts, has left Montana sorely underreporting and vulnerable to underrepresentation and underfunding for the next decade. According to census data reported by KULR, just 51.3 percent of the state’s population has responded to the census, ranking Montana at No. 45 out of the 52 states and territories being counted by census workers. Some 40.5 percent of that figure has responded online, and while the U.S. Census was put on ice in the early days of pandemic pandemonium, workers have returned to their essential duty. They’ve been mandated to do so. In 2010, just 64.6 percent of Montanans reported to the Census, and Stephen Buckner, Assistant Director for Communications for the Census, says collecting numbers from Native American communities will present the greatest challenge for the Treasure State; “as of May 28th no reservation in Montana has more than 40% of its population counted,” KULR reports. Additionally, in a state well known for a wariness of Big Government, “Buckner says some people have concerns about the government over reaching for personal information,” despite the fact the 10 question form is less invasive than a credit card application.