State leaders are issuing another challenge to Iowans about filling out their census forms, as we’re in a close race with other states in the region.
Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, who chairs the Iowa 2020 U.S. Census Complete Count Committee, says a new campaign called “Key to the Future” is appealing to all of Iowa’s 928 cities and each of the 99 counties to boost their response rates.
“We’re competing with our Upper Midwest neighbors,” Gregg says. “I call it a Big Ten battle between Minnesota and Wisconsin, who are narrowly ahead of us, and Michigan and Nebraska, who are narrowly behind us.”
Two Iowa cities rank among the best in the nation for response rates. The tiny community of Balltown, in northeast Iowa’s Dubuque County, ranks #2 in the country with a response rate of almost 94%. Also, Oakland Acres, in central Iowa’s Jasper County, placed 13th, with a response rate of nearly 90%.
The lieutenant governor says Iowa has more than $8.7 billion at stake in the census through 55 different programs that consider population as part of their distribution formula.
“It’s going to help us make sure that Iowa is well-represented both at the federal level and at the state level,” Gregg says. “It’ll help make sure that we draw down the taxpayer dollars that we’re certainly entitled to because there are billions of federal dollars that are distributed based on the census.”
Iowa’s census response rate is now 67.2%. That’s about three points behind top-ranked Minnesota and a half a point behind Wisconsin, while Michigan and Nebraska are trailing Iowa by less than half a point.
“So it’s a really tight race,” Gregg says. “I think if Iowans go out and take less than ten minutes to fill out their census, it’ll impact their communities for ten years, and will help us pull ahead of our Midwestern neighbors.” One report says the census determines more than $17,000 — per Iowan — over ten years, so even a 1% variation can mean a significant amount of money.
Iowans can fill out their forms by calling a toll-free number, or online at the website: www.my2020census.gov.