The North Carolina Rural Center has partnered with the NC Counts Coalition to ensure every resident, especially those in rural areas, are counted in the 2020 Census.
Several things in a community are influenced by Census counts, such as disaster response, education, economic development, local infrastructure, community planning and development, public safety, roads and more, according to ncruralcenter.org. The website cites lack of internet access, social isolation, housing status, language barriers, distrust and fear as the main reasons many people do not participate in the Census.
“It is critical that anchor institutions and community-based organizations – our hospitals, libraries, clinics, community colleges, schools, child care centers, and local and state government officials – are vessels for information and resources to support every North Carolinian in participating,” according to the website. “Safe havens and community institutions like churches, libraries, barbershops and hair salons can also serve as conduits of information to reach hard-to-count communities. We must all do our part.”
The NC Counts Coalition reports of the 15 North Carolina counties at risk of an undercount, 11 of them are rural.
“An accurate, or inaccurate, census count has a direct economic impact on every North Carolinian,” said Patrick Woodie, president of NC Rural Center. “Our state receives $16.2 billion in census-guided funds per year from federal programs, which amounts to about $1,600 per person per year and we simply cannot afford to lose a dime of that.”
Census results are a determining factor when billions of federal funding dollars are allocated to more than 100 programs, such as Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
“There is a shared fate between rural, urban and suburban communities in North Carolina, and this is demonstrated all too well by the economic impact of an accurate census count,” Woodie said. “The foods we buy, the roads we drive on, the schools we send our children to and the quality of the education they receive, the jobs we create or retain – all of these things depend on an accurate count, and all of these things transcend party, geographic and demographic lines.”
The Census determines representation in Congress. For electoral bodies that use geographically defined membership, census data is used to redraw district lines. An accurate Census count could result in North Carolina gaining an additional seat in the House of Representatives, according to nccensus.org.
RESPONDING TO THE CENSUS
MAIL: Send the completed Census form you received in the mail to U.S. Census Bureau, National Processing Center, 100 Logistics Ave., Jeffersonville, IN 47144