ANDROSCOGGIN VALLEY — Fewer than half the residents in the Androscoggin Valley have filled out their 2020 U.S. Census but there is still plenty of time. Because of COVID-19, the deadline to self-respond has been extended to Aug. 14, giving residents time to respond by mail, phone or internet.

The self-response rate for local communities ranges from a low of 25.2 percent in Dummer to a high of 49.8 percent in Shelburne. The response rate is 46.4 percent for Berlin, 47.2 percent for Gorham, 50 percent for Milan, and 28.7 percent for Randolph. The average for the state is 45.7 percent.

Last month, people began receiving forms in the mail from the U.S. Census, directing them to respond online, by phone or filling out the form and mailing it back. A reminder letter will be sent in the next few weeks.

The U.S. Census has pushed back the start of its field operation, sending workers door-to-door to collect data from those who have no responded, until the end of May.

Citing the importance of census data, Berlin officials are urging residents to participate. Census data is used for determining Congressional representation and $1.7 trillion in federal grants for rural areas, highway construction and planning, rural payment assistance and water and waste disposal systems for rural areas.

The city believes Berlin and other Coos County towns were undercounted in the 2010 Census.

The city’s east side had one of the lowest response rates in the county. Berlin has received a $6,000 grant from N.H. Charitable Foundation to promote increased participation especially in Berlin, Gorham, Northumberland and Colebrook.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the Census must be completed by the end of the year.

For more information, go to 2020census.gov.

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