BROWNSVILLE, Texas – After dozens of popular census outreach events over the past month, Cameron County leaders are excited to see that more than 50 percent of local residents have completed their Census 2020 forms.

The Census Bureau reported Tuesday that Cameron County’s self-response rate is 50.1 percent. 

“Thanks to the efforts of many community leaders and volunteers, we’ve made some very positive progress,” said Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr.

“We still have a way to go to reach and pass our response rate of 56 percent from 2010 but I’m hopeful that by working together and not slowing down, we can continue to reach our goal, and hopefully surpass it.”

Cameron County leaders such as Treviño and County Clerk Sylvia Garza-Perez have been focusing in recent weeks on “low-performing” communities such as Santa Rosa, Port Isabel, San Benito and Rio Hondo. They have been hosting census outreach events in conjunction with school districts and cities, nonprofits such as RGV Census Ambassadors, and businesses such as Noble Texas Builders.

“For decades the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas has been underfunded because it has been undercounted. We cannot let that happen again,” said Treviño.

The deadline for self-responding is Sept. 30. The percentage of self-responders will be topped up with “non-response follow-up” work by Census Bureau workers. The workers are currently going door-to-door to get a favorable response from those who have yet to complete their census forms. 

The Census Bureau is currently reporting a 63.8 percent success rate under NRFU for the four-county Rio Grande Valley region.

Census count in Pharr

City leaders in Pharr are also pleased with their census outreach efforts. Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez said his city will host a Census 2020 PHARR-B-Q Round-Up over the next three Saturdays. Here are the details:

PHARR-B-Q Round-Up Dates and Times

• Saturday, September 12, 2020, from 9 am – 3 pm

• 9 am – 3 pm

• Pharr Development and Research Center

• 850 W. Dicker Rd.

• Pharr, TX 78577


• Saturday, September 19, 2020, from 9 am – 3 pm

• Pharr Events Center

• 3000 N. Cage Blvd

• Pharr, TX 78577


• Saturday, September 26, 2020, from 9 am – 3 pm

• Pharr Development and Research Center

• 850 W. Dicker Rd.

• Pharr, TX 78577

Pharr residents who attend one of the three events and fill our their 2020 Census will receive a free barbecue meal. The city has partnered with local barbecue restaurants to provide vouchers for the event. Event attendees will receive two free vouchers per household for a meal redeemable at either Bar-B-Cutie Smokehouse, Uncle Roy’s BBQ, or Rudy’s “Country Store and Bar-B-Q”. Proof of city residency is required, please bring an ID or utility bill. 

Hernandez said with the Census 2020 deadline cut short to September 30, the City of Pharr is continuing its efforts to ensure that everyone in Pharr is counted. 

“The 2020 Census is pivotal to the future of Pharr as we have seen tremendous growth over the last decade,” Hernandez said. “Our census initiatives have really made a difference in our numbers and we are proud of our Census Field Operations teams who have continued to go door-to-door to ensure that everyone is counted. The city has also held numerous outreach events, opened a census center, and partnered with our local school districts, parents, and businesses to get the word out to the community,” continued Hernandez. 

Hernandez reported that Pharr reached its census Self Response Rates threshold on August 30, having completed 54.5 percent of questionnaires compared to 54.2 percent in 2010.

Diocese of Brownsville

Also playing a big role in census outreach is the Diocese of Brownsville. Bishop Daniel Flores said he is encouraging every priest at every parish to promote Census participation through multiple actions. These include:

• Announcements at the beginning and/or end of Mass
• Awareness and reminders through any parish gatherings, in person or online
• Inclusion in parish bulletins, newsletters, and social media platforms
• Phone Banks at lowest performing locations; church staff/volunteers call parishioners to assist in responding 

The Catholic Diocese of Brownsville oversees the work of 72 parishes and 44 mission churches across the four counties of the Valley. 

“A vital part of the mission of the Church is to care for the people of God – all people – Catholic or not. To participate in the Census 2020 is an act of great solidarity with our brothers and sisters, many of whom will benefit from numerous programs funded according to the Census count conducted every ten years. The Diocese is aware of the role and responsibility of the Church, as it seeks to be a force for good in the community,” a news release from the Diocese stated.

The Diocese plans to hold Census drive-through events on Sept. 13 in Weslaco at San Martin, Mission at Lady of Guadalupe, and Elsa at Sacred Heart. On Sept. 20 it will hold similar events in Harlingen at Our Lady of the Assumption, in San Benito at St. Benedict, and in Alamo at Resurrection. On Sept. 27 it will hold Census drive-through events in Lyford at Prince of Peace, in Escobares at Sacred Heart and in Brownsville at San Felipe de Jesus.

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