Idaho, 6 other states report highest census response rate

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Census Bureau has reported that Idaho is among six other states and Puerto Rico with the highest overall census response rate.

As of Tuesday, 99.9% of households in Idaho have been counted, The Lewiston Tribune reported. Among the responses, 69.1% responded online, by mail or over the phone and 30.8% waited until workers knocked on their doors.

The federal government conducts the census every 10 years as required by the Constitution as an official count of everyone living in the country. The official census day is April 1, but the count can take months to complete.

Census results are used to redistrict or redraw political boundaries for congressional and state legislative districts to ensure populations are balanced. The results also influence federal funding.

The Census Bureau said it has already counted 98.7% of all households across the country. Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine, Vermont, West Virginia and Puerto Rico joined Idaho at the top of the response rates.

The Trump administration had originally planned for the census to be completed by Wednesday. Last week, the date was extended to the end of October after local governments and civil rights groups successfully sued the administration arguing the shortened deadline could lead to inaccurate counts of minorities and other hard-to-count populations.

Despite the ruling, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said that Monday is now the new target completion date. The announcement means people will no longer be able to fill out the census forms barring another court ruling.