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Fill out census form

Shockingly few people in the Adirondacks have been filling out their census forms. We need to do much better.

On the U.S. Census Bureau’s interactive data map at 2020census.gov/response-rates, places with high response rates are shown in blue and those with low rates in brown. On a town-by-town map of New York, there are huge brown blotches over the Adirondack and Catskill parks, as well as the Tug Hill Plateau, Thousand Islands, southwestern New York and the eastern tip of Long Island.

Saranac Lake village Trustee Rich Shapiro drew attention this week to the fact that most of the Tri-Lakes area is well below the New York state average for responses, which was 49.9% as of Thursday, and that New York is below the national average of 55.6%.

Again as of Thursday, the response rate of New York’s 21st Congressional District, which spans the North Country, was 42.3%. Franklin County’s was 38.9%, Essex County’s was way down at 28.7%, and the rate for Hamilton County — the least populous in the state, with an area the size of Long Island and fewer people than Saranac Lake — was an abysmal 5.8%.

Tupper Lake, at 51.2%, was the only Tri-Lakes village above the state average. Saranac Lake’s response rate was 47.1%, but Lake Placid’s was only 31.2%.

As for towns, again, Tupper Lake leads the local area at 44.6%. Harrietstown’s response rate follows at 40.2%, St. Armand’s is 39.5%, North Elba’s is 34.6%, Jay’s is 31%, Duane’s is 30.9%, Black Brook’s is 28.8%, Franklin’s is 24.1%, Wilmington’s is 21.6%, Brighton’s is 17.4%, Newcomb’s is 12.4%, Santa Clara’s is 12.2%, Keene’s is 10.6%, Piercefield’s is 7.8%, and Long Lake’s is 4.8%.

“We must do better!” Shapiro wrote in a letter to the editor the Enterprise published Tuesday. He is absolutely right.

The census is mandated at the beginning of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 2), and for good reason. This is the basis for our state and federal legislative districts — how we are represented in Albany and Washington. And it’s how the government knows where to distribute funding for things like roads and schools.

Filling out a census form is certainly not too much to ask of Americans, since we only have to do it every 10 years and the short form doesn’t require us to divulge any sensitive information. It takes about 10 minutes, and you can do it by mailing in the form sent to your home, or by phone or online at 2020census.gov. It’s easy.

So, if you haven’t responded to the census, please make that a priority. You can spare a few minutes. Get it done.

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