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2020 Census – Update/Leave In New Mexico and Talking Points

Taken from from an iCountNM email:

New Mexico has unique challenges and barriers to achieving an accurate census count. We are the hardest state to count and have the most to lose if those barriers are not overcome. Due to COVID-19, a Census Bureau operation known as Update/Leave was suspended just four days after it began. This means nearly 20% of households have not received their official census invitation or unique census ID.


  • We still need every person to be counted so that we all benefit from the census for the next 10 years.
  • All counties in New Mexico are impacted by this delay. However, some counties and tribal areas have much larger populations in Update/Leave areas.

    • Catron, Rio Arriba, and Mora counties have nearly 100% Update/Leave households.
    • Twelve of New Mexico’s 33 counties have 50% or greater Update/Leave households.
    • All tribal lands, except Santa Clara Pueblo, are 100% Update/Leave.
  • Until these households are invited, county-level response rates will be artificially low, as will the response rate for New Mexico as a whole.
  • The Census Bureau has identified every household with a unique ID and invited respondents to participate online, over the phone or by mail using this unique ID. Households in urban areas with city-style addresses (123 Pine St.) should be able to respond without their unique ID. However, households that do not have city-style addresses or in rural areas should wait until they have their unique ID to respond. If they respond without it, it is likely that they will have to take the census again and/or have a Census Taker follow up with their household.
  • Responses without a unique Census ID in Update/Leave areas will likely result in a verification visit from a Census Bureau enumerator when field operations.


These talking points are tiered for different communities in New Mexico. Armed with the knowledge from the information above, these are the talking points we recommend using when talking to community members and in census promotional materials.

  • Take a look at the following document for further information on Talking Points to help spread the word about the importance of completing the 2020 Census.

Do you need unique materials to promote the census in your community? Email us @

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