Census Bureau Verifies Complete Count for New Mexico in 2020 Census

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State had the most accurate count in the United States

The U.S. Census Bureau released a state-by-state evaluation of the accuracy of the 2020 Census. The data in the Post Enumeration Survey highlights that, despite significant barriers, there was an accurate count in the decennial census of the number of New Mexico residents. An accurate count ensures the state receives a proportional share of federal resources for vital assets and services like schools, roads, and health care. It is estimated that for every person counted in the census, New Mexico receives $36,000.00 in federal funding. An undercount of just 1% would have resulted in a loss of $780 million over the next decade. 

In addition to the Post Enumeration Survey, the Bureau published a report on the accuracy of individual state efforts. The report found that while many states experienced either an overcount or undercount, New Mexico had the most accurate count nationwide. 

“This news further underscores the successful efforts led by the New Mexico Complete Count Commission and our partners with NM Counts 2020,” said Governor Lujan Grisham. “Because of the work by so many residents, New Mexico received the quality count it deserves.”

In advance of the census, Governor Lujan Grisham established the Statewide Complete Count Commission to promote and advertise the decennial count of all residents. Under the umbrella campaign of iCountNM, the efforts of the commission focused on hard-to-count areas and populations in order to ensure an accurate count. The Commission was chaired by the State Department of Finance and Administration. 

“Our department was proud to serve in this role,” said Department of Finance and Administration Secretary Debbie Romero. “The pandemic required significant changes to how we reached and encouraged New Mexico residents to respond to the census. Our Commission members, collaborators, and staff all adapted with poise and love for their communities. This success is one that all of us can share in.”

To help support the work of the Commission, a coalition of philanthropic organizations formed NM Counts 2020, which provided funding to community-based nonprofit organizations conducting census outreach across all corners of the state. The coalition was co-chaired by the Santa Fe-based Thornburg Foundation and the Albuquerque Community Foundation. 

“Nonprofit and philanthropic organizations played a significant role in fighting an undercount in New Mexico,” said Allan Oliver, Executive Director of the Thornburg Foundation. “Bringing public, private and non-profit resources together to support hard-to-count communities efforts to count themselves was critical to preventing an undercount, and serves as an example of what can be done on other statewide issues.”

New Mexico has long been considered one of the most difficult-to-count states in the nation and was projected to experience an undercount due to its rural nature and diverse minority communities. This projection was further exacerbated by the onset of the pandemic and continual interference by the Trump Administration. 

“New Mexico was at a very high risk of an overall undercount. This new data from the Census Bureau is further confirmation that this didn’t happen. Our collective efforts had a positive impact on our state.” said Robert Rhatigan, State Demographer and head of the UNM Geospatial and Population Studies program. 

According to the 2020 Census, the population of New Mexico was 2,075,000, a 2.8% increase from 2010. The Census Bureau does not release demographic data by state. Previous data released by the bureau showed that nationwide the 2020 Census undercounted the Black or African American population, the American Indian or Alaska Native population living on a reservation, the Hispanic or Latino population, and people who reported being of Some Other Race. However, without state-by-state data, any possible undercount of a specific race in New Mexico cannot be determined. 

Additional Information on the Post Enumeration Survey is available at www.census.gov/library/visualizations/interactive/2020-post-enumeration-survey.html

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For more information, contact Baylee Rawson, DFA Public Information Officer, baylee.rawson1@state.nm.us

The New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration serves New Mexico through fiscal management support for state agencies, local governments, and community-based programs to achieve responsible and quality fiscal services for all New Mexicans.

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June 10, 2022