2020 Census: Lincoln County’s response rate just over 60% as of July 29
Data determines representation in government, affects funding for numerous programs
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
LINCOLN COUNTY – Lincoln County residents have self-responded to the 2020 Census at a lower rate than state residents as a whole, but at a higher rate than those living in some nearby counties.
The self-response rate reflects residents who have responded to the Census by internet, phone, or by completing paper surveys, explained Melinda Osterberg, Marathon and Lincoln County Community Development Educator, UW-Madison Division of Extension.
“Lincoln County residents received their first invitation to respond to the 2020 Census in early spring,” Osterberg stated. “However, many residents have yet to self-respond.”
Area response rates
As of Wednesday, July 29, 69.4% of Wisconsinites had responded to the 2020 Census, according to www.2020census.gov/en/response-rates.html.
60.2% of Lincoln County residents had responded. Marathon County’s response rate was 76.1%, Oneida County’s was 44.3%, Price County’s was 47.1%, and Vilas County’s was 30.5%.
Responses within Lincoln County varied as of July 29.
67.0% of City of Tomahawk residents had responded, while 71.1% of City of Merrill citizens had responded. Among Lincoln County townships, the Town of Somo’s 32.1% response rate was the lowest in the county, while the Town of Scott’s response rate of 80.4% was the county’s high-water mark.
Municipality 2020 Census response rate as of July 29
City of Tomahawk 67.0%
City of Merrill 71.1%
Town of Birch 52.3%
Town of Bradley 44.3%
Town of Corning 53.9%
Town of Harding 46.8%
Town of Harrison 37.6%
Town of King 43.0%
Town of Lynne 17.3%
Town of Merrill 75.7%
Town of Nokomis 45.9%
Town of Pine River 75.7%
Town of Rock Falls 49.0%
Town of Russell 60.5%
Town of Schley 70.2%
Town of Scott 80.4%
Town of Skanawan 50.2%
Town of Somo 32.7%
Town of Tomahawk 38.6%
Town of Wilson 34.9%
Data from www.2020census.gov
Benefits, impacts of census response
“Besides response being required by law, there are multiple benefits to completing the census,” Osterberg explained. “Many federal and state programs are tied to information obtained through the decennial census. In order for Lincoln County residents to get their fair share of the $1.5 trillion distributed based on the results of the census, we need to make sure that everyone in the County is included in the 2020 Census.”
Numerous programs are funded based on formulas that incorporate census data, Osterberg said. Medicare and Medicaid payments, Block Grant programs (including the Community Development Block Grant, which provides vital economic development and housing rehabilitation funds), the Head Start program, the National School Lunch Program, the Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, the Senior Community Service Employment Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), libraries, community centers, and first responders are all affected by census data.
Representation at the state and federal level are determined by census response.
“Seats in the House of Representatives will be reapportioned using census data,” Osterberg said. “This will determine how Lincoln County and the State of Wisconsin are represented for the next 10 years.”
Census response also plays a role in funding programs that support conservation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“In 2016, 35.5 million people enjoyed fishing, 11.5 million hunting, and 86 million participated in at least one type of wildlife-sportsmanship activity according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation,” the Bureau stated. “It is important that people respond to the 2020 Census now so that programs and services supporting conservation can receive funding for the next 10 years – and people who engage in related activities can continue to do so.”
The Bureau said 2020 Census results will help “local, state, tribal and federal officials plan for and bring funds back to the community for wildlife conservation, hunting, and fishing programs,” from the Wildlife Restoration Program and Basic Hunter Education (www.beta.sam.gov/fal/d6880412acc2492d9e8015202dd61db0/view) to state wildlife grants (www.fws.gov/international/grants-and-reporting/how-to-apply.html).
How to respond to 2020 Census
“If you have not, please complete your census form today,” Osterberg said. “If you have misplaced the form, please visit www.my2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020. There is support for response in over 10 different languages. If you choose to not self-respond, census enumerators will begin canvassing residences Aug. 11. To prevent this visit, please consider responding to the 2020 Census today. By law, your response is 100% confidential for 72 years.”
For more information on the 2020 Census, contact Osterberg at 715-252-9459 or Melinda.firstname.lastname@example.org.