Governors urge Census deadline extension

Published 10:12 am Wednesday, August 26, 2020

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Gov. Roy Cooper joined a bipartisan coalition of governors from seven other states last week to urge the US Census Bureau to extend the Census through Oct. 31 to help ensure a complete count.

It was announced last month that the Census Bureau was ending all counting efforts for the 2020 census on Sept. 30, a month sooner than previously announced. This includes door-knocking efforts and collecting responses online, over the phone and by mail.

The constitutionally-mandated count of every person living in the U.S. impacts the distribution of political representation and federal funding for the next decade.

“We respectfully urge you to revise your plans and extend the enumeration deadline back to at least October 31, 2020, so that no person or community is left out of the 2020 Census,” the eight governors wrote in an Aug. 18 letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham.

Roughly four out of 10 households nationwide have yet to be counted. The self-response rate for the country is currently 64.5 percent. North Carolina is below the national rate, with only 60.3 percent of households having responded.

According to a Cooper press release, “North Carolinians most at risk of being undercounted live in rural counties, which make up approximately 80 percent of the state.”

Roughly 62 percent of households in Stanly County have already responded to the census, higher than many neighboring rural counties including Montgomery (40 percent), Anson (50 percent), Moore (60 percent) and Richmond (51 percent). In 2010, almost 64 percent of households in Stanly responded to the census.

The response rate of Stanly’s municipalities, as of Aug. 26, is as follows:

  • Red Cross is 75.4 percent
  • Stanfield is 70.1 percent
  • Locust is 70.1 percent
  • New London is 63.5 percent
  • Oakboro is 63.2 percent
  • Albemarle is 60.2 percent
  • Richfield is 59.6 percent
  • Norwood is 46.1 percent
  • Badin is 45.4 percent
  • Misenheimer is 33.3 percent

The non-response follow-up, where census takers go door-to-door to interview households that haven’t yet responded, began earlier this month and will run through the end of September.

Cooper’s press release said that as of the end of July, 41 percent of North Carolina households — or an estimated 4 million residents — had not yet completed the 2020 Census. A potential undercount of the state’s population 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.

“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,” the press release read. “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 results gathered during the census determine the numbers of representatives each state will have in Congress and are used by states to draw state legislative and school district lines. The results are also used to help determine how more than $675 billion in federal funds annually are spent across the country. Those funds are used for services like emergency response and fire departments, medical assistance and highways and roads.

Contact reporter Chris Miller at 704-982-2122.


About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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