About Us

About the N.C. Counts Coalition

The N.C. Counts Coalition serves as a hub to facilitate cross-sector coordination among government, planning and community organizations, service providers, businesses and others to achieve a complete and accurate Census count for North Carolina.

What are the Challenges to an Accurate Census?

1. Inadequate and Late Federal Funding

Congress failed to timely allocate funding to the U.S. Census Bureau to allow the Bureau to implement infrastructure to achieve a complete and accurate Census count. For example, late funding and funding cuts resulted in:

  • The Bureau holding one “end to end” test to identify glitches and gaps in the operation, instead of the three or four it has held in previous cycles (the single test hosted by the Bureau did not include the new citizenship question);
  • Half the number of regional census centers and local census offices, compared to 2010, where people can receive help to complete the questionnaire (North Carolina had a regional office in 2010 but will not have a regional office in state for 2020);
  • A cut of questionnaire assistance centers during peak operations
  • A decrease in state partnership specialist hired by the Bureau to educate and mobilize states (In 2010 the Bureau hired 3,000 partnership staff, for 2020 the Bureau will hire 1,500 partnership staff) and;
  • The Bureau has cut early communication activities targeting hard to count communities.

There are several factors that play into the cost of the Census, including:

  • Increased population diversity
  • Declining Census self-response rates
  • Technical, administrative and management challenges

2. There are Hard-to-Count Communities, which historically has resulted in an undercount in the Census.

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:

  • Young children < age 6
  • Hispanic or Latinx individuals
  • Native Americans
  • Black or African Americans
  • Migrant populations
  • Renters

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.

3. Digital Divide

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.

4. The addition of a Citizenship question  

In March 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the untimely addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census questionnaire. A citizenship question will significantly increase the cost of the 2020 Census and result in far less accurate data, and ultimately in a loss of federal funds to North Carolina communities. On June 27, 2019, in a surprise 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court found the Administration’s justification for the citizenship question to be “contrived” and ordered the removal of the question from the questionnaire. With the hopeful conclusion of the citizenship debacle, preparation continues across North Carolina to ensure North Carolina achieves a complete, fair and accurate Census count. The NC Counts Coalition is hosting Census workshops across the state to engage trusted messengers in Census outreach. At these workshops, stakeholders and trusted messengers identify challenges and opportunities related to Census participation. Counties across the state are also establishing complete count committees to ensure that NC Communities receive their fair share of more than $600 billion in federal funds. North Carolina is home to about 767,656 foreign-born individuals; our state has the 14th largest foreign-born population in the United States. More than 300,000 have already become naturalized citizens, and many more are, or will be, eligible to apply for citizenship. 

OUR VISION

We believe that accurate Census data is essential to the economic well-being of North Carolina and the general well-being of every single North Carolinian. A complete, inclusive and accurate 2020 Census Count will:

  1. Empower North Carolina communities financially by giving them access to federal funding available from Census-guided programs;
  2. Build power in local communities by capturing who North Carolinians are and where they live;
  3. Ensure that decision-makers have the information they need to uphold and improve the quality of life for all North Carolina residents; and
  4. Protect North Carolina’s political power in Congress and ensure fair political representation for communities across North Carolina.

OUR VALUES

Inclusiveness:

We recognize the Decennial Census to be the most inclusive government operation in our country. Every individual, regardless of race, ethnicity, citizenship status, age or gender, is counted equally and will benefit from a complete and accurate Census. We champion inclusiveness and strive for every individual in North Carolina to be counted.

Transparency and Accountability:  

We will be open, honest and accountable in our relationships with everyone we work with and with each other. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of ethics, integrity, service, and fiduciary responsibility.

Leadership:

We will be the “go to” resource for 2020 Census information and planning in North Carolina, offering deep knowledge and solutions to address the root causes of undercounts in our communities. Our knowledge guides our work, strengthens our value, and supports our role in serving as a leader and resource to stakeholders, partners and the public. We will mobilize resources to ensure that every community is accurately counted.

Engagement, Connectivity and Collaboration:

With an innovative and empowering spirit, we will engage all stakeholders and communities of North Carolina through solutions and ideas that will shape a complete and accurate 2020 Census Count in North Carolina. We aim to expand capacity and complement existing resources, rather than duplicating them. We will be a portal to collaborate, connect, engage, partner, mobilize and share. We will create opportunities to align organizations, businesses and government agencies for the 2020 Census.

Board of Directors and Staff