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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — In comparison to the entire country’s response to the 2020 Census questionnaire, the Navajo Nation is far behind. 

As of Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the national self-response rate, which is the percentage of people across the entire country that have answered the 2020 Census questionnaire, averaged 60.8 percent. However, the self-response rate for the Navajo Nation was 0.9 percent.

Given the Navajo Nation that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the response disparity is understandable.

Despite the COVID-19 still a real danger on the Navajo Indian Reservation, the United State Census Bureau will restart its 2020 Census Update Leave Operation on the Navajo Nation Thursday.

Census workers will be resuming deliveries of the 2020 Census questionnaires to housing units across the Navajo Nation.

“We, as Navajo Nation leadership, must stress the importance of the 2020 Census to every Navajo household,” 24th Navajo Nation Council Speaker Seth Damon said. “Answering the 2020 Census questionnaire by mail, phone or via the internet will ensure every Navajo person is counted once, at the right time and at the right place.”

The results of the Census are published at the end of the year and are used by both government agencies and private organizations to determine funding and investment opportunities for the next decade.

Navajo leaders stress the importance of answering Question No. 9 on the questionnaire, which asks for individual tribal affiliation. Those identifying as a member of the Navajo Nation are encouraged to respond with the word “Navajo.” Anyone of a mixed-race heritage is encouraged to use as much space to list each tribal or racial affiliation.

The 2020 Census will also provide important information on age, household size and more that is used to make important decisions by policymakers. The Update Leave Operation is an important step in ensuring every housing unit in the Navajo Nation has the information to properly respond to the 2020 Census.

 “Our main priority is to get every Navajo person counted by responding to the 2020 Census questionnaire as soon as they receive the information,” said Speaker Damon.

The Council encourages members of the Navajo Nation to respond to the census in order to secure full community funding for future generations.

More information about the 2020 Census can be found online at 2020census.gov.

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