Crew leader assistant Jeff Levin, left, talks with crew leader Catherine Leitess before heading into the field to verify information for the U.S. Census Bureau.

Photo by John F. Russell

Crew leader assistant Jeff Levin, left, talks with crew leader Catherine Leitess before heading into the field to verify information for the U.S. Census Bureau.

Steamboat's low census response would harm funding



Details are just part of the job of counting for crew leader Catherine Leitess, who looks over a map before heading out to verify information for the Census Bureau.


Details are just part of the job of counting for crew leader Catherine Leitess who looks over some forms before heading out to verify information for the Census Bureau.


Crew leader assistant Jeff Levin, left, talks with crew leader Catherine Leitess before heading into the field to verify information for the Census Bureau.

Who to call

If you haven’t been counted for the 2010 census and would like to be, call the Grand Junction Census office at 970-361-3690.


Visit to or

By the numbers

Census figures as of April 27

Steamboat Springs: 38 percent

Hayden: 65 percent

Oak Creek: 54 percent

Yampa: 59 percent

Routt County: 43 percent

Colorado: 70 percent

U.S.: 72 percent

  • Includes mail-only participation

Source: U.S. Census 2010

— Babette Dickson was shocked to hear that Steamboat Springs’ and Routt County’s 2010 census response rates were so low.

The Steamboat Springs High School French teacher also was shocked to learn what those low response rates could mean for the school district when a Census employee spoke last month at the National Education Association conference in New Orleans.

“The ripple effect of a low response can be very, very hard,” Dickson said. “It’s only every 10 years that we do that. We’ll be stuck with those numbers for 10 years.”

Kathleen DuHamel, the local census office manager for the office in Grand Junction, said census information affects the number of seats a state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“There’s also a lot of federal funding from the census data, which is attached to school districts, cities, towns, a number of entities that rely on federal funding,” she said. “The higher the population, the more funding communities in western Colorado can get.”

According to the 2010 census website, that information would help determine how more than $400 billion in federal funding is spent annually on hospitals, job training centers, senior centers, public works projects, emergency services and schools.

That doesn’t bode well for Steamboat and Routt County, at least according to the most recent census figures.

As of April 27, the most recent figures available, only 38 percent of Steamboat residents had responded to the 2010 census. In Routt County, the figure was slightly higher at 43 percent — bolstered by response rates of 65 percent in Hayden, 54 percent in Oak Creek and 59 percent in Yampa.

In contrast, the response rate in neighboring Moffat County was 63 percent. But several other resort communities also had low response rates — many lower than those in Routt County.

For instance, the response rates in Avon and Vail were 37 percent and 23 percent. In Breckenridge, the response rate was 22 percent. In Aspen, it was 37 percent. The response rates in the counties where those ski towns are located are slightly higher.

DuHamel said the most recent census figures were based on mail-only participation. She said efforts subsequent to receiving information by mail in the 37,000 square miles that the Grand Junction office covers have resulted in “considerably” higher figures in that area since April.

“I would say it’s dramatically different from that now, but I don’t have the exact numbers,” DuHamel said. “… I know it’s gone up considerably since then.”

Steamboat resident Cather­ine Leitess, a crew leader with the census in Steamboat, spent Thursday morning looking for potential duplicate residences, such as apartments that have a legal address that differs from their physical address. It was one of just many post-mail follow-ups that census workers have done in communities across the country.

She said the door-to-door interviews, mostly follow-ups with residents who didn’t mail their census forms, are done. So are vacant/delete checks, reviews of homes that on April 1 were vacant because the houses or apartments were unsold or unrented, not because no one was there. Leitess said second-home owners were deleted after the first round of follow-ups.

Now they’re reviewing the trickier cases, which will be followed by quality control checks. Those will help verify the accuracy of all census workers’ efforts.

Leitess said it’s difficult to count people in resort towns such as Steamboat, especially when most of that work is done during mud season. She said even now, four months after census day, many people are surprised to see her and other workers compiling and verifying information.

“People are grabbing me and saying, ‘I didn’t get counted. Where do I go?’” Leitess said.

Dickson said she just wanted to get the information to the community about the importance of the census count. She spoke to the Steamboat Springs School Board on Monday.

DuHamel said the Grand Junction office’s efforts were wrapping up. But she said the office would take calls from western Colorado residents who haven’t been counted until Aug. 20. The office can be reached at 970-361-3690.

“We will do everything possible to get them counted,” she said.


Scott Wedel 6 years, 8 months ago

A whole article based upon response rates as of April 27th?

And the article is misleading to a large extent which is that the census bureau makes a major effort to reach the people that did not respond. So it is not simply a case of people not counted as of April 27th are probably not ever counted.


housepoor 6 years, 8 months ago

Is this an accurate response rate or in reality are they just vacant propeties?


babette dickson 6 years, 8 months ago

Scott, April 27 is the last official update released by Census bureau. To make sure everyone is counted, I thought it was logical to inform the public about the situation. If the numbers have been going up since 27 April: Great. If not, we are running the last lap and everyone needs to make sure they are accounted for, their neighbors and friends.... That's the message this article needs to convey. And I thank Jack and the paper to raise the awareness regarding this issue.


babette dickson 6 years, 8 months ago

YVB, this has nothing to do with Obama, Bush, Reagan or Clinton. We need as a nation these data to plan for growth, State seats/election, fed funds for many programs, .... the ripple effect of the final analysis done by the Census bureau is obviously beyond your understanding... Sorry to say!


trump_suit 6 years, 8 months ago

For such a constitutional zealot, I thought that YVB would support the census as it is written into that document but ...................................... It must be another conspiracy set back two centuries to control our behavior and collect information about us citizens that it would be otherwise unable to collect. Right YVB?

One look at your electic/phone/mortgage/propane bill will tell them more than that poor census worker wanted to know.


JustSomeJoe 6 years, 8 months ago

YVB is likely a classic case of defining the constitution how he believes it to be, rather than what is actually in the document.


seeuski 6 years, 8 months ago

Amazing!! These same people claimed we were losing our rights under Bush but are now happy to bend over backwards to give a Government agency their vital statistics. Why the change in latitudes? I can understand Babette as that would be the norm in France. I think everyone here has been around for more than one of these census deals and I for one don't remember this need for in depth personal detail, oh wait, redistricting, that's it. Hmmm lets see, we already know that the Administration is sending stimulus money to the Blue States over the Red, yea I can understand why some are resistant to the infringement.


Scott Wedel 6 years, 8 months ago

Census asks for basic information so that government can statistically combine the numbers and get an idea of what is going on in the country. Which then can be used for adjusting various government programs to be more effective.

The 2010 census is also generally asking for less information than the 2000 census, but which that census was a nonissue, the loonies are convinced the 2010 census is a socialist plot. Amazing


trump_suit 6 years, 8 months ago

Come on just how much information is being collected here. I filled out my form this year. While I don;t remember exactly, there were about 10 questions total. things like how many people, how long lived, gross income range job vs self-employeed.

Thats about it. Which questions are the most concerning to you? The census has been taken over 20 times, why is it such a big deal to you this time?


trump_suit 6 years, 8 months ago

YVB, because you forced the census worker to come to your house instead of returning the form, do you even know what questions were asked? People like you that refuse to return accurate information cost ALL of the taxpayers extra including yourself.

Look squarely in the mirror and blame yourself for the excess census costs.

Don't honestly remember if that was one of the questions, but I believe that it is. Anyone remember for YVB?


cody heartz 6 years, 8 months ago

Sounds like you're avoiding the question and passing the buck yvb. Do you really believe that the census somehow in fringes on your liberties? It's a simple enumeration that takes place in nearly every county on earth and has been part of civilization for almost all of recorded time. Taking part in the census is as patriotic as voting; it's your duty as a citizen. It seems as though you are just using the census as a soapbox for venting some of your paranoia.


Cooke 6 years, 8 months ago

YVB – I’m holding a copy I made of the Census. Here are the questions verbatim: 1. How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010? 2. Were there any additional people staying here April 1, 2010 that you did not include in Question 1? 3. Is this house, apartment, or mobile home • Owned by you or someone in this house with a mortgage or loan? • Owned by you or someone in this house free and clear? • Rented? • Occupied without payment or rent? 4. What is your telephone number? May we call if we do not understand an answer? 5. Please provide information for each person living here. Start with the person living here who owns or rents this house, apartment, or mobile home. • Last Name • First Name • Middle Initial 6. What is the person’s sex? 7. What is this person’s age and birth date? 8. Is this person of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin? 9. What is this person’s race? 10. Does this person sometimes live or stay somewhere else? Now - - please explain how our nefarious federal government is going to use this information to strip me of my rights and push us past the precipice of totalitarianism and socialism?


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