When the U.S. Census Bureau began a campaign to increase participation in this year’s decennial headcount, hopes were high the statewide response would translate into four additional congressional seats for Texas.
Now it looks like skeptics who remembered Texas’ lackluster effort in decades past might have been right. On Wednesday the bureau released its mail-in participation rates for the country, with Texas’ effort coming in at 69 percent. That falls below the national average of 72 percent, which the Associated Press reports could mean Texas gains less than it anticipated.
According to the report: “Of the five states on the cusp, the biggest potential losers are California and New York, which could have a net loss of one and two House seats, respectively. Texas may end up gaining just three House seats instead of four.”
The original four-seat prediction could still emerge correct, however. Census workers will now go knocking on doors, asking residents who didn’t participate the same basic information requested from the 10-question mail form.
A major concern for state officials has been the response rate along the border, specifically in the low-income and hard-to-count areas known as “colonias.” Residents in those areas, they fear, could have concerns about their residency status and what the repercussions of filling out the forms could be. Time will tell what actually knocking on their doors next month will bring.
And if you're curious how each of Texas' 254 counties participated, we've updated our county-by-county participation map.