Why Your Answers Matter

The 2020 Census will provide a snapshot of our Community to the Nation—our population, where we live, and so much more. 

The results are critically important because this once-a-decade census data helps businesses, researchers, and communities make decisions. The data can help inform where our community needs a new fire department, more funding for school lunches, or new roads.

The 2020 Census Form is Now Available 

The 2020 Census is now live. Click the button below to take you the official United States Census Bureau's website to fill out your Census Form.

The 2020 Census questionnaire will take about 10 minutes to complete.

What is Madison County's Real Population?

We don’t know.


But we feel that although the Census Bureau estimates the City of Rexburg’s 2018 population as 28,687, the number of new residential construction (BYU-Idaho single student housing, multi-family community housing, and new single-family residences) built between 2013 and 2019 should add an additional population of 4,686. Therefore, Rexburg’s population should be over 33,000, significantly more than the 28,687 estimated by the Census Bureau. 


How Does the US Census Bureau Estimate Population? 


The US Census Bureau conducts a nation-wide census every ten years. In between that time the Census Bureau updates every city’s population based on a complex formula based on the number of new residential building permits issued and then multiplies them using an average household size (for Rexburg that size is 3.38) and a RAKE factor of .74 (which accounts for vacancies, structures not built, etc.) 


The Estimated “Rexburg Population” used the same basic methodology and RAKE but broke out building permits by Single Family Residential (SFR), Multi-Family Residential (MFR, or non- BYU-Idaho Single Student Housing) and Single Student Residential SSR). (Building permits data was only available from 2013 to 2018.) Average household size for each category was then determined by taking a sampling of Census Blocks containing only SFR, MFR and SSR. These samples yielded average household sizes of: SFR, 4.025; MFR, 2.39; and SSR, 5.6.


What does this mean? Due to this undercount, the City of Rexburg stands to lose out on over $398,000 in directly redistributed state money (based solely or in part on population), and over $6,560,000 in federal money (again, based solely or in part on population), each year. That is over $69,000,000 over 10 years! This is money that could go towards education, roads, parks, social services, infrastructure and more. 

How Population Can Affect Business Decisions

While population is not the final determining factor in attracting new businesses, it can play a critical factor in the initial analysis by those tasked in finding new markets for their businesses to expand to. Retail is sometimes the easiest business sector to explain.


Retail Trade Areas Explained


A retail trade area is a geographic region that a store, restaurant or business draws from. Its size depends on both the variety of goods and services available and other retail stores that exist already in the area. Companies use this information to analyze a potential market and determine whether it offers them sufficient potential to open a store. Retailers and restaurant chains want to know where their customers will come from, and they use this information to select good sites, assess their competitors and create their marketing.



Darden, the parent company of Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, and other casual/upscale restaurant chains, has specific criteria on Olive Garden site locations. In 2012 the chain's demographic requirements were a trade area with 100,000 people, and the area of focus was a "prime regional location for the trade area." Since then, Darden has gone through some changes, such as selling Red Lobster, so the corporation may have reconsidered some of its requirements. 


More Chains Analyzed


Golden Corral is a franchise operation with a demographic requirement of 50,000 for a market area and a location with an average daily traffic count of 21,500 to 45,000, depending on the size of the restaurant. 


These are a couple of examples of how population affects business location decisions. By participating in the 2020 Census, you can help Madison County get a complete and accurate count. 

©2019 by Madison Complete Count Committee.