Albemarle City Council urges people to complete the Census

Published 2:04 pm Monday, September 21, 2020

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The Albemarle City Council urged citizens to complete the 2020 Census during a recent meeting after hearing a presentation on the subject which found that four in 10 households have still not taken the time to complete the information.

Jay Voyles, who is leading the city’s Census efforts, informed the council that the city’s self-response rate was 61.7 percent, which ranked 170th out of 551 registered municipalities in the state.

“We can’t say enough how important it is to get this Census complete because of the amount of money that comes to us, local, state and federal, based on our population,” said Mayor Ronnie Michael. “We need everyone to get involved.”

Roughly 63.1 percent of households in Stanly County have already responded to the Census, higher than many neighboring rural counties including Montgomery (40 percent), Anson (51 percent), Moore (61 percent) and Richmond (53 percent). In 2010, almost 64 percent of households in Stanly responded to the census.

Volunteers, known as enumerators, are canvassing neighborhoods collecting the demographic information from households that have yet to complete the census. About 29 percent of households in North Carolina have completed the census with the aid of enumerators. When combined with the self-response data (62.2 percent), a total of 91.3 percent of households in the state have completed the Census.

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.

Gov. Roy Cooper recently joined a bipartisan coalition of governors from seven other states to urge the US Census Bureau to extend the Census through Oct. 31 to help ensure a complete count. According to a Cooper press release, a complete and accurate Census count could bring roughly 1,800 per person per year in federal and state funds to North Carolina communities.

Completing the Census is critical because the results gathered 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.

In an effort to make sure all Albemarle citizens get counted, Voyles said enumerators will be present at the weekly food truck Friday events at City Lake Park to help people fill out the Census.

Voyles said the part of the city that has struggled the most to complete the Census are the neighborhoods around Leonard Avenue and Amhurst Street, which have a 44 percent self-response rate. Voyles had no available data for how many households in the city had completed the Census with the help of enumerators. To try and reach populations that haven’t yet completed the Census, Mayor Pro Tem Martha Sue Hall brought up the idea of the city schools sending students home with reminder handouts to give to their parents.

With almost 40 percent of households that haven’t yet responded, “we have got some work to do,” Hall said.

The response rate of Stanly’s other municipalities is currently as follows:

  • Red Cross is 75.4 percent;
  • Stanfield is 71.3 percent;
  • Locust is 71.0 percent;
  • New London is 65.2 percent;
  • Oakboro is 64.1 percent;
  • Richfield is 62.2 percent;
  • Norwood is 47.9 percent;
  • Badin is 47.0 percent; and
  • Misenheimer is 40.3 percent.

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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