Compared to 2010 data, the most reliable count of persons living within Arkansas in the 2020 U.S. Census comes from our state’s self-response rate. For Arkansas, that is 59.9 percent as of September 11, 2020. 

Arkansas Counts partners admire the hard work of field workers, or Non-Response Follow-Up (NRFU) staff who have knocked on doors using face masks and social distance practices in recent weeks. According to reporting by the U.S. Census Bureau, the hard work of NRFU individuals has increased the total count in Arkansas to 95.3 percent as of September 11, 2020.

National Census Counts 2020 and Funders Census Initiative 2020 partners caution us in “Tracking 2020 Census NRFU Completion Rates” that we do not know “how housing units have been ‘counted.’” National Census Counts 2020 and Funders Census Initiative 2020 go on to say, “The NRFU completion rate does not reflect:

    • “The progress within the NRFU operation, as it is relative to total housing units and not just the NRFU workload
    • “Significant variances within states
    • “Households that have self-responded”
    • In short, we cannot confirm the accuracy of enumerated total percentages as currently reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.”

Additionally, a U.S. District Court of Northern California judge has paused a move by the bureau to end field operations and close acceptance of census responses on September 30 until a ruling is made regarding a lawsuit to be resolved mid-September

Why does this matter? Hard-to-count residents, which include rural residents, children under five, people of color, the elderly, and individuals experiencing homelessness, will likely be undercounted in the census in Arkansas as a result of inaccuracies that may exist, costing these residents and their communities:

    • Billions of taxpayers’ dollars over the next decade for education, healthcare, and infrastructure to build and maintain quality of life
    • Political representation
    • The right to be represented and have voice to shape our future over the next decade

So this is what we have to do: Continue to encourage people you know to complete the census at or by calling 844.330.2020 because we are committed to shaping our future in Arkansas over the next decade.

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