City of Pharr Officials React to Release of 2020 Census Figures

City of Pharr officials were pleased to learn that the State of Texas grew by 4 million people, according to the 2020 Census figures released yesterday by the U. S. Department of Commerce. The state gained the most in population and was one of only a handful of states across the country to gain additional congressional seats; Texas gained two additional congressional representatives and will now have 38 members in the U. S. House of Representatives.

Many factors attribute to the population growth, including the increasing number of opportunities available in Texas, such as economic, educational, housing, career, as well as rapidly burgeoning industries that are attracting people from out of the state to Texas. Additionally, the population is fairly young, indicating that much of the increase in newcomers can also be attributable to new births. All these factors contributed to the state’s population boom, positioning Texas as an even more influential state in the national arena. Additional congressional representation means more federal attention, resources, and funding for the state, and ultimately, for our region.

Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D., and members of Pharr’s Complete Count Committee are confident that their myriad efforts over the past two years had a positive effect on the census results in our area. In late 2019, and in partnership with our local school districts, Pharr recruited, trained, and deputized Parent Ambassadors who would be active in sharing the importance of responding to the census with their neighbors, families, and community members.

In early 2020, the city recruited and trained members that would comprise the city’s outreach team, with plans in place to canvass neighborhoods throughout the community of Pharr to ensure an accurate census response and count. Then, the pandemic hit. After months of relying on self-reporting and phone-banking to constituents sheltered-at-home, the Census outreach team was eventually able to ramp up the city’s efforts to ensure an accurate count, armed with personal protective equipment and having been trained on appropriate health and safety measures to resume door-to-door canvassing and outreach. In an effort to promote and increase citizen participation, the city was creative, rewarding those who completed their census form with incentives, including free food, a chance to win gifts, and a raffle for credit towards utility payments.

Pharr’s census response ultimately demonstrated a considerable increase in participation as compared to the 2010 Census. City leaders anticipate that Pharr’s census numbers will help South Texas ensure our fair share of federal allocation of funding and resources for our priorities, our projects, and our community.

“Overall, we are confident that our Census efforts paid off,” said Hernandez. “We look forward to the release of population figures at the local level and will work with our state leaders to ensure that the reallocation of congressional representation is fair to our area,” he continued.’

“We want to thank our Parent Ambassadors, our Census outreach team, and all citizens who participated in this very important Census,” Hernandez added.