RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper joined a bipartisan coalition of governors from Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington to urge the US Census Bureau to extend the Census through October 31 to help ensure a complete count. In a signed letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, Governor Cooper and the other governors outline concerns about the decision to end 2020 Census Count operations a month early, which could jeopardize efforts to get a complete and accurate population count as required by the U.S. Constitution every 10 years.
“Your recent announcement calls into question how millions of Americans who have yet to fill out their 2020 Census will be counted. It is surprising to hear how optimistic the Census Bureau is about being able to reach 100% in less than 60 days, given the current daily self-response rate and the fact that, as of the writing of this letter, only 63% of the country has responded to the 2020 Census,” Gov. Cooper and the other governors wrote in the letter. “By your own calculations made when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the October 31 date is crucial for the Census Bureau to be able to meet its constitutional obligation and do it in a way that does not jeopardize the public health.”
North Carolinians who have not yet responded to the 2020 Census can do so by going to MY2020CENSUS.GOV, by calling 1-844-330-2020, or by mailing in their Census form if they received one in the mail.
Because the 2020 Census was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ending count efforts early would make it especially difficult to get a complete count and ensure full federal funding and representation for North Carolina. As of July 31, 41 percent of North Carolina households – an estimated 4 million residents – had not yet completed the 2020 Census. A potential undercount could put North Carolina at risk of losing $7.4 billion per year for health care, education, highways, community services, economic development, disaster recovery and more over the next decade.
North Carolinians most at risk of being undercounted live in rural counties, which make up approximately 80 percent of the state. This includes military families, eastern counties impacted by recent natural disasters and communities with already limited access to health care.
A complete and accurate Census count could bring $1,823 per person per year in federal and state funds back to North Carolina communities, helping our most vulnerable populations including the elderly and communities of color. An undercount could also jeopardize North Carolina adding another seat in the US House of Representatives to represent the people of our state’s interests.
The full letter can be read here.
BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Census Takers have begun visiting homes of those who have yet to complete the 2020 population count. They will be out in the community conducting the count until late September.
Citizens can verify if someone is working for the Census by asking for their valid ID badge. It will have their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. They may also be carrying a Census Bureau bags and other bureau equipment.
All Census takers are hired locally and have completed a virtual COVID-19 training in social distancing and health and safety protocols. Additionally, they will wear masks when visiting homes and work seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
If questions remain about their identity, individuals can contact their regional census center to speak with a Census Bureau representative.
Census takers may also leave a paper copy of the survey hanging on the door in a clear Census 2020 bag.
People can still fill out the Census either online or over the phone, 844-330-2020, until September 30. It’s a total of eight or nine questions and shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to complete.
The current response rate for Georgia is 59.4 percent. In North Georgia, the self-response rates are slightly below the state average.
- Union – 52.5%
- Towns – 46.3%
- Fannin – 37.1%
- Gilmer – 45%
- Lumpkin – 62.2%
- White – 49.1%
- Rabun – 38.4%
Pat Malone who leads the Complete Count Committee for Union and Towns County explained that the low response rates are a reflection of the several second homes in the area.
“Towns County has about 40 percent of residences that are rental properties and second homes, so if you factor those out, the real percentage for Towns County is right around 79 percent. I think we’re much better off,” he said.
After September, the Census Bureau will “determine final housing unit status, populate any missing housing unit data on household size and finalize the universe to be included in the apportionment count file.” The deadline for this is December 31, 2020.
In March 2021, the process of redistricting will begin, which influences the amount of funds local governments receive from the federal level. Malone confirmed that the second homes and rental properties shouldn’t affect the county’s federal funding.