Residents in Douglas County are slacking a bit in making themselves count.

As of May 17, Douglas County had a self-response rate to the U.S. Census of 58.8%, nearly 11% behind Minnesota’s self-response rate of 69.6%.

There is a piece of good news, however. Minnesota leads the nation for getting Census forms finished.

Douglas County has some work to do to get all residents counted, according to an update from Vicki Clayton, the U.S. Census Bureau’s West Central Minnesota partnership specialist. She presented the information to the Douglas County Complete Count Committee and the Douglas County Board.

Four cities in the county have response rates of less than 50 percent – Brandon with 35.1%, Garfield with 35.4%, Forada with 45.7% and Osakis with 48.7%.

Residents of Forada didn’t do that well participating in the 2010 Census, with 59.6% of the residents responding and Osakis also lagged in the last Census with 66.4 percent.

Brandon and Garfield, however, had good Census participation levels 10 years ago, with 84.2% and 80.8% response rates.

Here are the 2020 Census response rates in other cities in Douglas County as of May 17, listed from highest to lowest, with the 2010 rates shown in parenthesis:

Miltona – 73.3% (76.8).

Alexandria – 67.9% (72.5)

Millerville – 64.9% (75.6)

Evansville – 62.3% (82.9)

Kensington – 60.9% (74.8)

Carlos – 58.2% (84.1)

Nelson – 57.4% (75.0)

In her update, Clayton emphasized that it’s not too late to respond to the 2020 Census. She strongly encouraged Douglas County residents to respond promptly to the 2020 Census using the ID number included in the questionnaire packet.

“Responding with a census ID or the paper questionnaire helps ensure the best count of their community,” Clayton said. “People can respond online, by phone, or by using the paper form in the packet.”

Starting on May 27 and continuing through Aug. 14, Census takers will interview people in homes that haven’t responded yet.

Clayton noted that the 10 minutes it takes to complete the Census will equal 10 years of benefits for the local communities and the state.

“We need you and everyone in your household to be counted in the 2020 Census –

from newborns to any relatives or friends living with you. Everyone!” Clayton said.

The 2020 Census results will impact funding and guide decisions for not only the state and county, but also for every business, nonprofit and government organization in the community,” Clayton said.

Census data is used to determine how more than $245 billion dollars (each year) in federal funding is spent on Medicare/Medicaid, education, medical funding, emergency response, employment programs, highway funding, food programs and more, said Clayyon.

“Census data also impacts our representation in Congress and the state Legislature,” she added. “You and your family matter to us. Be counted.”

Residents received Census forms in the mail weeks ago and have received other reminders through the mail. The Census may also be completed online through 2020Census.gov or by calling 844-330-2020.