By the end of this week, the U.S. Census Bureau will have re-opened 247 “Area Census Offices”. The ONLY one unable to get back to the decennial business of counting everyone in the country is in northeastern Arizona. The coronavirus outbreak on the Navajo Nation continues to spread and take lives, and now it is making it more difficult to count those who survive the virus.
Today, the Navajo Nation reported 102 new cases and three additional deaths on the sovereign lands that spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The death toll of one of the worst outbreaks in the country is now 277.
The Census Bureau touted the re-opening of all of the other regional offices, and noted that the five others in Arizona had re-opened last month after the stay-at-home order expired. Thirty offices – mainly in New York and New Jersey – are reopening this week.
The Census Bureau simply explained its decision this way: “Census Bureau officials are coordinating closely with the Navajo Nation on the safe resumption of operations in the Window Rock, Arizona, ACO.”
The decennial census is an important measurement for states and tribal nations alike, as it is used to decide political representation and federal spending (among other things). The Navajo Nation’s population in the 2010 census was over 173,000.
People who have not yet responded – on the Navajo Nation or elsewhere – can begin to complete their forms here, or by calling 1-844-330-2020.