CARTERET COUNTY — With an end-of-the-month deadline looming, residents have less than one week to ensure they are counted in the 2020 census.
The deadline to respond to the decennial population count is Wednesday. Those who have not responded should visit 2020census.gov to see their options for doing so, including online, by phone or by mail.
In addition, U.S. Census Bureau employees are on the ground in communities, conducting in-person follow-ups with households that have not responded.
The Census Bureau and other officials continue to stress the importance of responding by the deadline. The count is used to determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to communities, as well as how many seats each state will get in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“(The census) must be accurate, valid, reliable and fair to support political balance, determine federal funding and to encourage economic development in North Carolina communities,” reads information from the N.C. Counts Coalition, an organization formed to help facilitate an accurate census count in the state. “Inaccurate counts paint a distorted picture of the make-up of our communities and will result in a misallocation of resources for North Carolina.”
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau show North Carolina lags behind the nation and the Southeast in overall response rates for the census. As of Thursday, the state’s was 94%, behind the national rate of 96.6%.
Meanwhile, Carteret County ranks in the bottom 10 of North Carolina counties, with a self-response rate of 44.6%, compared to a statewide self-response rate of 62.5%. An overall response rate, which includes responses gathered by door-to-door census takers in addition to online, phone and mailed responses, is not yet available at the county level.
Carteret County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bill Smith urged all residents to respond to the census by the deadline to ensure an accurate count.
“I’d like to point out to everybody that we’ve got a census going on and we’ve got some low turnouts, ladies and gentleman,” he said during the board’s regular meeting Monday. “For your information, that costs us money, so if we have to raise taxes because you’re not filling out your census, don’t be coming to me crying. Get on your computer and fill out your census.”
For more information on the 2020 census, visit 2020census.gov.
Contact Elise Clouser at email@example.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.