Door-knocking, which experts say is crucial to counting people of color and rural residents, is stopping later this month, the Census Bureau announced in August. It’s a month earlier than the Bureau had planned to stop. Experts worry undercounts could threaten federal funding for a host of programs that sustain rural areas.

Don Dillman.

However, there are some promising signs in Idaho’s census counts. Roughly 96.7% of the state’s households have responded, according to a Monday report by Census Bureau. That’s the highest in the nation.

The “main reason” for Idaho’s high total response rate is, according to Washington State University sociologist Don Dillman, “in-person (counting) has been more successful here than in other places.”

Census counts determine how much representation states will have in the House of Representatives. They also guide funding formulas for public programs.

The Pew Research Center says 95% of all federal funding programs to local and state governments are tied to census figures, amounting to $580 billion. Even hospital planning uses census data. Also funded through these figures are health care services such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicaid and school lunch programs.

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Idaho State Journal