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Photo by Michael Sauers.

With count finalized, Census says 99.9% of NJ units enumerated

Unclear when state will receive final data

By Nikita Biryukov, October 16 2020 10:33 am

The Census Bureau completed its decennial count Thursday, having surveyed 99.9% of the housing units in the state.

New Jersey’s self-response rate was 69.3%, roughly two percentage points higher than the 67.6% self-response rate from the 2010 census.

The remaining 30.6% of housing units were reached by Census takers over the past months.

The finalized count could mean a ballot measure that would amend to the state constitution delay the New Jersey’s legislative redistricting process won’t come into play next year, regardless of how it fares at the polls this year.

If passed, the referendum would require the Legislative Redistricting Commission delay reapportionment until 2022 if it does not receive census data by Feb. 15, 2021, which is earlier than the Bureau is required to provide states with finalized census data.

Out of tradition, the Census provides counts early to New Jersey and a Virginia, another state that runs state races in years where there are no federal races, but it is not required to do so.

Good governments, including the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and the state branch of the League of Women Voters, oppose the ballot question over concerns that it would disenfranchise the state’s Asian and Latino voters.

Those demographics have added roughly 400,000 residents over the last decade, their populations growing much faster than those of other groups.

Proponents argue that, at worst, the measure would change the state’s reapportionment cycle to running in eight- and 12-year increments instead of 10-year ones.

At 78.4%, Morris County recorded the highest self-response rate, beating its 75.4% self-response rate from the previous Census.

A handful of counties — Hudson, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem — recorded lower self-response rates than they did in 2010.

Cape May County’s 32.3% self-response rate trailed every other county. It was less than half the self-response rate of every county save Atlantic, Hudson and Essex.

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