ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Even before the pandemic, people living in rural communities and on tribal lands are among the toughest to count in the 2020 census.

The U.S. Census Bureau suspending work this spring pushed those efforts even further behind. That concerns advocates in rural America and Indian Country. Alaska, West Virginia, New Mexico and other states with large rural populations are lagging behind the rest of the nation in answering the once-a-decade questionnaire.

Those states have the largest concentration of households that rely on getting the forms from visiting census workers. Ultimately, it could cost them congressional seats and federal funding for highways, schools and health care.

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