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Census official praises Cameron County

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A U.S. Census official visited Cameron County, praising their efforts to make every person count.

"The results are coming in and you're starting to see the fruit of your labor," Timothy P. Olson, associate director for field operations for the U.S. Census Bureau said.

Sylvia Garza-Perez spearheaded Cameron County's census count.

"We knew we had 40 areas in the county that were undercounted in 2010," Garza-Perez said. "We knew the northern part of the county, especially the rural areas, did not get counted. The southern part of the county, the rural areas did not get counted, so that was our main focus."

The county had been preparing for the census for years. Garza-Perez and her team came up with the best strategies and creative ideas to get the community engaged. Then the pandemic threw a curve ball - forcing her team to switch to contact-less ways to get everyone counted. 

"Having the drive-bys, having them come through, getting a little incentive to come out, helped us a lot,” Garza-Perez said. “It was crazy, it was mad, it took a lot of time and it was hot in the middle of the day, very hot days.”

According to the 2010 census - only 406,215 people live in Cameron County. County officials believed that number didn't accurately reflect their population, causing them to ramp up their efforts for the 2020 census.

"It's clear we counted people, the residents not only in Texas but throughout the United States and why we're here today in the lower Rio Grande Valley, really came out and really made this their census,” Olson said.

The next chunk of census data will be released on Aug. 16, painting a clearer picture of what populations in counties and cities look like. 

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