Thursday, April 8, 2010

Socorro, Catron Lag Behind In Census Return

By John Larson

SOCORRO - New Mexico lags behind the national average for census participation, with a 54 percent return rate for census forms, as of Wednesday. The national average is 63 percent.
According to the web site, Socorro County lags even further behind with 42 percent. Magdalena is even lower with 38 percent. The City of Socorro is at 47 percent.
The worst participation in the state as of April 6, is Catron County with 19 percent. The Village of Reserve is 26 percent.
New Mexico’s highest participation rate is Los Alamos County with 72 percent.
Tom Cheyoga, Census Bureau official from Las Cruces, said participation in the census is crucial for the welfare of the county, the state, and the nation.
“For every person counted it means money coming to the community,” Chegoya said. “Funding for infrastructure, education, affordable housing, and more. It means money that should come here, where you live.
“This year is one of the critical tests in our nation’s history, given the recession and current state of our economy,” he said.
Chegoya said the 2010 census questionnaire is simplified compared with the 2000 Census, and “does not care about some of the detailed information that has been asked previously.
“There’s only 10 questions. All the information collected is strictly confidential. That’s the law,” he said. “It can’t be shared with any other governmental agency, even Homeland Security, for example. It’s only about the count.”

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