EDINBURG – Officials with the U.S. Department of Commerce on Friday officially extended the deadline until October 31 to complete the U.S. Census, prompting Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez to strongly urge residents who have not done so to complete the once-a-decade form.
“We have been given a second chance,” Judge Cortez said. “The response rate for households in Hidalgo County appears to be lower this year than a decade ago – and that’s bad news for us.”
As of Friday, Hidalgo County had a response rate of 54.1 percent. Ten years ago, the county’s response rate was 55.9 percent. The state’s response rate is 62.4 percent and the national response rate is 66.6 percent.
“This may seem like a slight decrease in percentage,” Judge Cortez said. “But it could translate into the loss of tens of thousands of dollars in federal funding for schools, highways and other infrastructure.”
Judge Cortez reminded anyone reluctant to fill out the form that the Commerce Department is forbidden to share personal information with law enforcement and uses the information only to compile a snapshot of this county’s demographics. Factors that are measured include how old our population is, how well educated it is, and how many people are living in households throughout the county.
This information all helps in economic development, federal aid, and giving voice to Hidalgo County at the state and national level.