For the first time in history, the public can monitor U.S. Census self-response rates daily, and, as of the Saturday update, Mississippi had an 18.3% self-response rate – higher than the national average of 16.9% and well above some neighboring states.

Louisiana is at 16.3%, Alabama at 17.9%, Tennessee 16.6%, Florida at 16.7%, Arkansas 17.6%, Texas 13.8% and Georgia 14.1%.

Officials with the Mississippi Complete Count Committee are thrilled with early results and are determined to maintain the momentum. While officials at all levels handle the many important issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, the responsibility to count every U.S. resident is still a priority.

The Complete Count Committee is launching a campaign to engage state, county and city leaders to watch their own area’s numbers and challenge their residents to complete their census questionnaires. They believe this is a turning point and a real opportunity for Mississippians to come together and make a difference for the state.

“We are so encouraged,” said former state Senator Giles Ward, chairman of the committee. “This is an opportunity for Mississippi to show the nation how it’s done.

“We are a shining example right now, and we can make it even better if we all work together. Many of us are working from home, and it’s a good time to take care of this while we can.”

In 2010, Mississippi was among the bottom 10 in the country in response rates.

According to John Green, Ph.D., director of the Mississippi Center for Population Studies at the University of Mississippi and one of the executive members of the Mississippi Complete Count Committee, every person not counted in the census represents approximately $50,000 in Federal funding over 10 years.

“Mississippi undercounted by about 265,000 people in 2010, representing $13.2 billion dollars left on the table,” Green said. “That’s a lot of money we could have used.

“We can all change the path for Mississippi and help the state get our share of the dollars by completing our census and encouraging others to do the same.”

The census can be completed online by visiting http://mscensus2020.org

The U.S. Census bureau will mail paper questionnaires to those who do not complete the census online, followed by phone calls. In-person, door-to-door visitation has been postponed until a plan can be made in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

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