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American Indians need to complete their census properly to avoid a population undercount

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 7:25 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The U.S. Census was supposed to conclude on September 30, but the deadline has been pushed back again to Oct. 5.

Some areas of the state, like tribal communities with lower response rates, could utilize the additional time to gather more information.

U.S. Census Bureau data shows American Indian and Alaska Natives who live on reservations were undercounted by nearly five percent in 2010. This decade, however, census officials are working to ensure Native American populations are more accurately counted.

“Every number counts, every person counts,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Mike Faith, encouraging those living on the reservation to complete their census.

State census officials said some Native Americans' distrust in the federal government may have led to their populations' undercount.

“Many American Indians had more individuals in their housing units than they were supposed to and they were concerned if they honestly reported the number of individuals, they would lose their rights to housing,” said State Census Office Manager Kevin Iverson.

The tribe wants to assure residents that it’s safe to be fully transparent with census officials.

“They’re bound by confidentiality. And trust in them, but be not afraid,” said Tribal Chairman Mike Faith.

Chairman Faith said an accurate count is vital for Sioux County’s funding for infrastructure, healthcare, and education.

For those who haven’t had a census worker come to their door, it’s not too late to participate. You can still be counted by going online to 2020Census.gov

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