HELENA, Mont. – The Montana Department of Commerce today announced a targeted marketing campaign that is already reaching Montanans in low-response areas of the state to increase Montana’s 2020 Census count. With 34 days left to count residents, the state is making a final push to encourage everyone to respond to the Census before the shortened deadline of September 30.
“This year has brought unique challenges and disruptions to our daily lives,” said Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, who is the chairman of the Montana Complete Count Committee. “While Montanans continue to cope with a new reality, the Census may not always be top-of-mind. But that doesn’t make it less important, which is why the state is making this last, targeted effort to encourage Montanans to respond to the 2020 Census and shape our state for the next decade.”
The “It’s Time We Count” campaign is focused on reaching Montanans in low-response areas such as rural counties and tribal nations in Montana to encourage them to respond to the 2020 Census. Through a strategic mix of digital media, out-of-home, newspaper, radio and TV advertising, Missoula-based marketing firm Windfall will target areas where Montanans may not have received Census information in other ways, particularly through the mail. Due to disruptions from COVID-19 and because the U.S. Census Bureau does not mail to P.O. boxes or rural route addresses, as many as one-fourth of Montana households did not receive Census information earlier this spring.
The Commerce Department recently detailed some additional 2020 Census outreach efforts made possible by three other statewide partners through $530,500 in funding allocated by Governor Steve Bullock from the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Those partners, the Montana Nonprofit Association, Western Native Voice and Forward Montana Foundation, are hiring or have hired additional employees to reach Montanans in hard-to-count areas of the state.
While the federal government is tasked with counting all households every 10 years, the state supports the effort to educate and promote the importance of the Census.
An accurate and complete count of all Montanans is critical for determining the federal funding distributed to the state – overall, more than $2 billion from 300 federal programs is allocated back to Montana based on Census information. The Census count is also used to shape local voting and school districts and will determine whether Montana will regain a second seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
To date, 57.9 percent of Montana households have self-responded to the Census. Montanans who have not yet responded to the 2020 Census can do so by going to MY2020CENSUS.GOV, by calling 1-844-330-2020, or by mailing in their Census form if they received one in the mail.