The census data is rolling in and, so far, Seattle is No. 1. As of Saturday, the city is tops in the nation in filling out the 2020 census form.

Everyone living in the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories is required to be counted by the 2020 census. The data collected is used to determine the levels of political representation each community receives as well as the level of federal funding for services such as schools and roads.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Seattle so far has the highest rate of census participation among the 50 largest cities in the United States, with 60.7% of Seattle households having returned their census questionnaire, most of us doing it online.

Statewide, our ranking slips. Overall, Washington state is tied with Utah as the sixth most responsive state.

In some rural areas of the state, responses so far have been poor. Mattawa, near Hanford, has just a 2.9% response rate.

More than 94% of all census questionnaires returned by Washington households have been submitted online at The remainder have used the telephone response option, or paper questionnaire.


Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, census collection activities out in communities were suspended in March and the Census Bureau is seeking statutory relief from Congress for 120 additional days to deliver final counts.

Previously planned local outreach work to increase participation among groups considered harder to count — such as immigrants and low-income communities — has had to shift away from a focus on physical social gatherings toward connecting with people by telephone or digital media.

The Census Bureau says it plans to resume field data collection as soon as possible after June 1.

This will include in-person visits to  households that still haven’t responded, with staff following the latest health and safety guidance, including recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) and social-distancing practices.