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Libraries helping Montanans fill out 2020 Census

Posted at 10:59 AM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 12:59:45-04

This week the Montana State Library is hosting “It’s Not Too Late to Be Counted at the Library” for the US 2020 Census.

Montana currently ranks second to last in the overall response rate and results from the census could get Montana another seat in Congress.

The state of Montana encompasses 147,000 square miles - and many rural households don't have internet, and won't receive Census mail.

"You don't really know who's filled out the Census, and who hasn't."

So far Montana has about a 58% self-reporting rate compared to the national average of 65%. Community Services Librarian Daniel Ray says people are asking lots of questions.

"Because of COVID, it's been a priority for people, and not really the Census. The important thing is just letting people know that it is a priority for their state and their communities that they fill out the Census."

The Bitterroot Public Library is doing what it can to answer them.

"Generally it's just the awareness, having fliers out so it reminds people to do it. They're already using the computer, so they might as well take five minutes to fill out a census if it even takes that long," said Ray.

People can use the library computers, free library wifi, or even check out a hotspot to take home.

"The Census is mostly online right now, but that doesn't mean people can't do it online or by phone. People are more comfortable doing it over the phone or by mail, and that's an option for them still," said Ray.

To fill it out online, go to My2020Census.gov or call 1-844-330-2020.