2020 US Census team seeks local workers to ensure Moffat County is counted among data | CraigDailyPress.com

2020 US Census team seeks local workers to ensure Moffat County is counted among data

Lily Griego with the U.S. Census Bureau speaks to Craig and Moffat County representatives Thursday, Oct. 17.
Clay Thorp/Craig Press Staff

Editor’s note: This report has been updated to reflect Moffat County residents can respond to the Census online, by phone, and in paper form.

The United States Census Bureau is asking the Craig and Moffat County communities to band together and help their neighbors be included in the upcoming 2020 census.

State Coordinator Lily Griego said she needs everyone’s help ensuring Moffat County gets counted.

Griego made a presentation Thursday at Craig City Hall to a roundtable of representatives from the Craig Police Department, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, Memorial Regional Health, Northwest Colorado Health, Craig Chamber of Commerce, and others.

“We need every one of your organizations to get the word out,” Griego said.

Griego unveiled a map to the group showing large swaths of Moffat County have yet to relay updated census data.

“Anywhere you see the yellow in Moffat County, that’s where the update leave is being conducted,” Griego said.

Some of those areas are without reliable internet. According to the Census Bureau’s 2013-2017 estimates, almost a quarter of Moffat County residents have no internet access and about 10% have no computing device at all.

This may present a problem for Moffat County as this is the first year the Census Bureau is making the 2020 survey available online, by phone, and in physical paper form to encourage residents to self-respond.

“This is the first time ever the U.S. Census will be done online,” Griego said. “You can do this on our phone, on your computer. It takes just a few minutes.”

The Census Bureau’s monthly American Community Survey data estimates a 72.7% self-response rate in Moffat County between 2013 and 2017.

The 2020 Census will have major implications for Moffat County and other rural communities across the country. The new data will be used to establish political representation at the state legislature in Denver, in the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., for the local Moffat County School District’s funding, federal and state grant funding, and for countless business, nonprofit, and intergovernmental planning decisions over the next decade.

“We are talking 10 years worth of federal funding for all these programs … and political representation for 10 years,” Griego said.

The Census Bureau has jobs for Moffat County residents posted in almost every online jobs board. Griego said hiring has been difficult.

“The Western Slope and eastern plains were very hard to hire,” she said Thursday.

That’s why Griego wants to hire Moffat County locals to help make sure their neighbors are included.

“We hire people in the community because they are the community,” Griego said.

She warned that if everyone in Moffat County isn’t counted, it could further affect residents’ ability to buy a home, to start a business, and much more.

“Those who are not counted and given a voice in this process will be underrepresented,” Griego said.