Michigan 1st in nation to hit census milestone

    Census protesters
    Protesters gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court as the court hears oral arguments in the Commerce vs. New York case April 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. The case highlights a question about U.S. citizenship included by the Trump administration in the proposed 2020 U.S. census. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Despite COVID-19 putting a halt to all in-person census events this spring, the state’s census campaign announced that Michigan is the first state in the country to match its 2010 Census self-response rates.

    The Michigan Census Bureau announced that 67.7% of Michiganders have filled out their census, an increase of 12.7% from mid-April.

    The “Michigan Be Counted” campaign, a collaboration between the state of Michigan, U.S. Census Bureau and the Michigan Nonprofit Association, set out with a big goal of 82% participation for the 2020 census.

    The deadline to participate in the census is Oct. 31.

    COVID-19 scrambles census plan, leaders stress online option

    “That roughly means we still need to move the needle another 5%, which is a tall order, but I am encouraged that as COVID-19 restrictions have started to be lifted, our local partners around the state will be able to do more community events and direct neighborhood engagement,” said Kerry Ebersole Singh, the statewide census director.

    The total participation in 2010, including those that filled their census out with a census taker, was 78%.

    An unprecedented $16 million was allocated by the state Legislature for  census outreach and participation, making it the largest census campaign in state history.

    The census determines how much federal funding Michigan receives for public safety, health care, education, roads and infrastructure through 2030. 

    “With more than $30 billion in funding for critical local health programs and services including police and fire, roads, literacy programs for students and nutrition programs for seniors on the line, it’s never been more important for Michigan to have a complete and accurate census count,” Ebersole Singh said. 

    Allison Donahue
    Allison Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.