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Virginia Reports Successful Census on Final Day of Count

County map of Virginia
Virginia's self-response rate for the 2020 census was 71%. People near the states urban cores were more likely to self-respond than those in rural areas. (Graphic courtesy of U.S. Census Bureau)

On the last day of counting, Virginia census officials say more than 99% of state residents were counted. Virginia’s self-response rate was about 71%, higher than the national average of 67%. 

Richmond’s self-response rate was lower than average at around 62%. Local census officials say door-to-door and over-the-phone follow-ups got both the city and Virginia as a whole to a complete count by the October 15 deadline, which was extended due to the pandemic.

According to the census website, the lowest self-response rates in Richmond --  under 50% -- were in the South Side, the East End, and the historically Black neighborhoods of Jackson Ward and Carver.

Census experts consider racial minorities and immigrants “hard-to-count” due to language barriers and a general distrust in government caused by systematic disenfranchisement. 

At around 40%, self-response rates were also low on Virginia Commonwealth University’s campus. High housing mobility makes college students similarly hard to count. 

The highest self-response rates in Richmond were in the West End with some census tracts reporting rates as high as 85%. 

Henrico’s and Chesterfield’s self-response rates were also above the state average at 76%and 77% respectively. Accomack County in the Eastern Shore reported the lowest response rate in the state at around 38%.