WRAL: Make North Carolina count by completing the census

WRAL: Make North Carolina count by completing the census

The deadline for the 2020 Census is fast approaching and approximately 4 million North Carolinians still need to fill out the census. There’s roughly $16 billion of federal funding at stake for North Carolina if citizens do not participate by the September 30 deadline — in addition to state funds.

Our response is critical as North Carolina is expected to gain a congressional seat based on this count and it’s crucial for distribution of representation and resources.

A count is worth more than $1,600.00 a year over 10 years; that is $16,000. If you are not counted, you will be leaving $16,000 in funding on the table for education, healthcare, highways and road infrastructure and transit service in your community.  


“The census is a once in a decade opportunity to count all residents in the nation. It’s also one of the building blocks of our democracy,” she said. “Without adequate participation, we’re risking billions of dollars a year in funding for our communities. We are eager to increase our participation and make sure that everyone in North Carolina counts.”

As census.nc.gov explained, the data collected “helps determine political representation for our state and the amount of funding invested in our communities. Census data helps decide how more than $16 billion in federal funding gets used each year.”

Completing the 2020 Census helps:

Allocate federal and state funds in North Carolina.

Determine the number of North Carolina congressional representatives.

Establish the boundaries for voting and school districts.

Provide information needed to improve schools, roads, health care, emergency response and other community services.

“The census-driven funding represents tax dollars that we’ve already paid. It’s our state’s chance to bring those dollars back to our communities for health care and hospitals, educational programs, schools, roads and highways, economic development, and many other services,” Sanders said. “At a time like this, we can see where those funds would be significantly impactful to our economy given all that our communities are going through with COVID-19, as well as the devastation that North Carolina undergoes during hurricane season.”

With over 80 rural counties out of the total 100 counties in North Carolina, the census will be an important moment, as vital resources and programs will be decided for the next decade.

Federal law requires the Census Bureau to send population totals to the president by Dec. 31 of every census year. Due to the pandemic, census officials pushed the deadline to April 2021.

In May, the House approved the new deadline, yet, the Republican-controlled Senate has not followed suit. Congress remains without an approved request for an extension to the 2020 Census.

With at least 9 days left, North Carolina still lags behind many other states in terms of self-response rate of 62.3 percent, and is ranked 37th in the US for self-response

We need North Carolinians to participate in the 2020 census in order for every community to receive adequate investments in schools, infrastructure, public health, and public institutions and services. 

Bottom Line: An undercount will hurt every community excluded from the count as vital resources and programs will be decided for the next decade. Our responses will be our last stand for fair representation.

If you haven’t filled out the census, here are ways to do it:

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Alanna Joyner

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