"...an accurate count of the U.S. population forms the basis for many important but often overlooked political, economic, and social decisions that are made that end up affecting our daily lives."
-- C.N. Le, Professor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst
The Decennial Census is essential to our state and our country, and it is important to get the count right! It must be accurate, valid, reliable and fair to support political balance, determine federal funding and to encourage economic development in North Carolina communities. Inaccurate counts paint a distorted picture of the make-up of our communities and will result in a misallocation of resources for North Carolina.
Our country’s representative democracy is based on Decennial Census data. The Census is used to determine the number of seats each state has in the US House of Representatives and it is used for redistricting at the national, state and local level.
Census data is used for allocation of $675 billion a year from large Census guided federal programs.
A single missed person is almost equivalent to a forfeited $16,000 in funding for North Carolina over a 10 year period.
This is based on a per capita number of $1,623.00 provided by Counting for Dollars. There is not a straight linear relationship between state population count and federal funds flow. The per capita figure allows cross-state comparisons of fiscal reliance on census-guided programs. While we cannot say that each person counted in the census would increase federal program dollars to North Carolina by a certain amount, census results are of utmost importance to distributing federal funding — and doing so equitably and prudently.
How does the Census Count Impact Federal Funding in North Carolina?
Census Data is Used to Distribute $16.29 Billion Annually to North Carolina
|HUMAN SERVICES||$3.244 Billion|
Census data is a necessary tool for community planning. It informs decision makers of the people who make up their communitites so that they can be effective in planning and placing services for growing and changing populations. Census data helps plan roads, schools, hospitals, senior centers, and emergency services in our communitites.
Census data also assists businesses in locating corporate headquarters, factories and stores, in recruiting employees, and in conducting market research.
Achieving a complete and accurate count is not simple. An analysis of past Decennial Census participation rates can be helpful to communities in planning outreach to populations that may have previously had a low participation rate.
In 2010 North Carolina ranked 16th in the country, alongside with Connecticut, Maryland Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Washington for 2010 Census mail participation with a 74 percent return rate.
Historically, certain population groups, referred to as “hard-to-count” populations or communities, have not been fully counted and represented in the Census count. Several challenges can make a population hard-to-count and can contribute to an inaccurate Census, such as:
If these populations are miscounted, they risk losing funding and resources for their communities, and an opportunity for fair representation in government.
North Carolina’s Hard-to-Count Communities include:
The Decennial Census is a federal program that counts every resident, regardless of age, national origin or citizenship, every 10 years. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. All responses to the Census are confidential.
The Census is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. The primary purpose of the Census, as mandated in the Constitution, is to determine how seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are apportioned among the states.
13, but North Carolina is projected to gain an additional seat if is has a complete and accurate 2020 Census.
Everyone. The Census counts everyone living in the United States, regardless or citizenship status or age. Even the baby born on April 1, 2020 should be counted in the Census.
The 2020 Census will be the first Decennial Census where people will be counted over the internet. The U.S. Census Bureaus wants to optimize self-response rates and encourage residents to take the Census online. Households will also be able to respond via the traditional census taking methods, the telephone and paper forms.
A census taker. A person who is employed to take a count of the population.
Yes. By law (13 U.S. Code § 9), information gathered from the Census is 100% confidential and cannot be shared with any other government agency. Census takers (Enumerators) take an oath to protect the privacy of the information collected and can face jail time and heavy fines if they violate that oath.
Even though the primary purpose of the Census, as mandated in the Constitution, it to take a count of the population to determine U.S. congressional apportionment, Census data is also used by the government in a variety of important decisions. For example, the U.S. government allocates about $400 billion in federal funds each year based on Census information; currently North Carolina receives about $16.29 billion of these funds, which is allocated for health care, housing, transportation, education and human services. Also, local governments utilize Census information to determine community planning (where roads, schools, hospitals, etc. will be built). Census information can also support a strong economy; corporations and businesses look at demographics of communities to determine where they will locate headquarters, factories and workplaces.
The 2020 Census is vitally important to North Carolina. At stake is federal funding, representation in congress and our economy, we cannot risk an inaccurate count. There are several challenges facing the 2020 Census, and we must be proactive in ensuring that North Carolina has a complete and accurate count. The Census only takes place every ten years, so it is important to get it right!
Congress wants the U.S. Census Bureau to hold the costs of the 2020 Census at the same level as the 2010 Census. A government accountability office study shows that the budget should be about twice that amount.
There are several factors that play into the cost of the Census, including:
Hard-to-Count Communities are groups who are more likely to not be counted by the Census than other Americans. Historically, marginalized communities are at a greater risk of being undercounted.
North Carolina’s Hard-to-Count Communities include:
Accuracy has always been a hurdle with Hard-to-Count Communities. These Communities are often reluctant to respond to the Census because of concerns and fears of the confidentiality of the information collected and how that information will be used.
The U.S. Census Bureau is rolling back door-to-door canvassing and focusing more on internet-based responses. This will affect obtaining an accurate count of communities that do not have internet access.
According to Broadband Now, 151,000 people in North Carolina do not have any wired internet providers available where they live.