9/23/2020 1:10:00 PM Your Census Response Is Important
Wayne Howard Staff Writer
With only one week left to count the estimated 4.7 million North Carolina households in the 2020 Census, the state is lagging far behind other states. That means many North Carolinians won't be counted, and the state's official population won't be fully reported. That could affect the number of representatives the state gets in Congress and how many federal dollars paid in taxes get returned to the state based on grants relative to population. A low count has consequences--dollars and cents consequences.
How is NC doing? As of September 21st, the state's response rate was low compared to other states, both nationally and within the southeast. Nearly 400,000 North Carolina housing units need to be counted within the next week to get a complete response. Young children, rural communities, and heavily minority communities remain at risk of an undercount.
Since the last Census Bureau report – ending August 30th – North Carolina remained 37th out of 50 states and DC in reporting percentages. Four states had counted over 99% of their households; another nine had counted more than 98%; and 24 more had counted over 94%.
Idaho ranked #1 with 99.8%, essentially the same as West Virginia. Hawaii and Maine had also counted over 99%.
North Carolina had self-counted just 62.4%, but thanks to non-response followup, the state's total enumerated count was now 92.5%. That means it's suspected that about 7.5% of the state's population hasn't been counted. South Carolina was worse at 60.1% self-responded, 90.9% enumerated. Tennesee had self-counted 65.4% and had an enumeration rate of 96.5%; and Georgia had self-counted 61.2% and enumerated 91.5%.
Lincoln County continued to do a bit better than the state rate for self-responses--69.5% compared to 62.4%. Catawba County's self-count rate was 67.8%; Gaston's was 61.3% and Cleveland County's self-response rate was 62.2%. While Lincoln County is #6 in terms of self-responses in NC, the city of Lincolnton responses aren't quite as good.
If you haven't already--either by mail or online, you can still respond to the Census online at https://my2020census.gov/, over the phone by calling 844-330-2020, or through the paper questionnaire received in the mail...but hurry, the deadline is September 30th.
Ask your friends and relatives if they have completed the 2020 Census.
Census takers are going door-to-door to collect data from households that have not responded. Please cooperate if a census taker knocks on your door. They won't report any information to ICE and any info you provide is purely confidential.
Why is it so important? The census count directly affects the allocation of $43.8 billion annually in federal funds for critical public services such as hospitals, schools, road repairs and emergency response services for the next 10 years in North Carolina. It insures that communities are appropriately represented in the statehouse and in Congress. With an accurate 2020 Census count, North Carolina is projected to gain a seat in the US House of Representatives, increasing from 13 to 14 representatives. Knowing how many children live in a community will provide the foundation for important policy and planning decisions over the next 10 years. Just a 3% undercount of North Carolina’s children could represent a loss of $330 million in federal funds over the next ten years. An undercount won't reduce your taxes--but it will cut the amount of federal dollars returned to our state.
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