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For more than year, state officials and community groups in California have pushed a singular message: the importance of filling out the decennial count.

Organizations canvassed neighborhoods, and hosted rallies and information sessions where they explained how census data turns into federal dollars that trickle down to cities and states. After the coronavirus pandemic wiped out the chance to gather in person, they started phone banks and honed social media campaigns.

Those efforts, officials said, have achieved some of the best results in the country in getting the hardest-to-count communities to respond — of the estimated 3.5 million to 4.1 million households in that category, some 2 million have replied — although there is still work to be done to ensure a more complete count of historically underrepresented groups.

Now officials have discovered a different problem to worry about: Some affluent California neighborhoods have fallen far behind in their response rates compared with the 2010 count.

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