Cordova continues to underperform on census

City threatens to fall short of 2010 response rate

Although Cordova’s participation rate in the U.S. census has risen by 5.8 percentage points over the past month, the city continues to lag behind the state and the nation.

According to data published Monday, Aug. 24 by the Census Bureau, 43.5 percent of Cordova households have responded to the census, compared to 52.4 percent throughout Alaska as a whole. Alaska remains the lowest-performing state. Cordova achieved a final response rate of 61.2 percent in the 2010 U.S. census.

Census data is used to assign resources to hospitals, fire departments and other services, as well as informing the redrawing of electoral districts. The city uses census numbers to aid in drawing up comprehensive plans and deciding what issues to prioritize. Incomplete census data could result in the inaccurate assignment of resources, officials said.

“It’s important that people respond, and 43 percent seems like a pretty darn low response,” Mayor Clay Koplin said.

Cordova ranks 18th of 43 Alaska communities surveyed, according to Census Bureau data. Juneau leads the state with a participation rate of 67.9 percent, followed by Anchorage with a participation rate of 65.6 percent. Small coastal communities like Kasaan and Cold Bay, with response rates of 10 percent and 15.2 percent respectively, are among the state’s lowest-performing communities.

The Census Bureau announced Aug. 14 that it would send emails to homes in neighborhoods with a response rate under 50 percent, using email addresses gathered from state assistance programs and from commercial lists. Bureau officials told the Associated Press they expected to send out 20 million emails. Census takers are also calling homes that haven’t yet participated, using phone numbers gleaned from third-party purchased data. These remote methods have been supplemented by door-knocking and mailings.

Census responses can be filed online at