Anti-government sentiment could be dampening the census response in Texas, which has been counting on picking up four congressional seats and millions of dollars in federal funding. Across the state, the response rate stands at 27%, well below the national average of 34%. In some Republican districts, the rate is as low as 8%. “There's a general distrust of the federal government at every level,” says one congressman.
Influential leaders might be to blame for the poor turnout. “The invasive nature of the current census raises serious questions about how and why government will use the collected information,” Ron Paul recently said. In general, more Democrats think the census is “very important” than Republicans, which one advocate calls foolish. “They think they are hurting the government," she tells the Houston Chronicle. "They are really hurting themselves and their communities.”