NC Counts Coalition and the organization’s 300 plus partners from across the state are reminding North Carolina residents to complete the 2020 Census and make sure friends, family, and neighbors are also counted. Residents can respond to the form by mail, by phone, and for the first time ever, online. Most households will receive their Census invitation in the mail March 12, 2020, and March 20, 2020.
“We’ve been preparing and mobilizing for this very moment since 2017,” said Stacey Carless, Executive Director of NC Counts Coalition. “The Census is critical to the economic and general well-being of every single North Carolinian. We only get one shot, and we remain committed to make North Carolina count.”
The U.S. Constitution requires a Census count of every individual living in the United States every ten years and documents increases, decreases, and changes in community demographics. The statistics created are used to decide how many seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives. It also determines the amount of federal funding North Carolina receives for important programs and services, including healthcare, food assistance, education, transportation, housing, community development, families and more.
The Census directly affects the allocation of $23.8 billion annually in federal resources to North Carolina. Each person counted represents about $16,000 for our state over a 10-year period. Additionally, it provides key decision-makers with the information they need to ensure that government resources are directed strategically to the state’s communities. Also, the Census ensures that communities are appropriately represented in the statehouse and in Congress. With an accurate 2020 Census count, North Carolina is projected to gain a seat in the House of Representatives, increasing its representation from 13 to 14 representatives.
Residents do not need to be concerned about safety and security, as Census answers can’t be used against an individual, and data security is managed by security experts operating at the highest levels. Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, the U.S. Census Bureau cannot release any information that identifies individuals, and anyone who breaks this law faces a fine of up to $250,000 and/or up-to five years in prison.
All Census workers must carry a valid ID badge with their photo, U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date. Residents can call (800) 923-8282 to check if a visitor works for the Census. If the visitor is not with the Census, residents should contact their local police department.
Coronavirus Impact on 2020 Census Operation in North Carolina
The Census operation is taking place amid the novel Coronavirus, known as COVID-19. NC Counts Coalition is monitoring this situation closely and keeping abreast of how Coronavirus will impact community outreach and engagement for the 2020 Census.
“Effective and impactful mobilization relies on the safety, health, and wellbeing of advocates, stated Carless. “Our partners’ health and safety are of the utmost importance to us. We are strongly encouraging all partners to take all necessary precautions to help minimize risks and keep safe, which includes changing some direct contact outreach tactics to encourage participation.”
“There are many ways to advocate for Census participation and have an immense impact in our communities exclusive of in-person contact,” Carless further stated. “This is a great time to elevate the fact that there are three ways to participate in the Census operation by the end of April before we have to begin to rely on Census Takers knocking on doors.”
NC Counts Coalition is encouraging its partners to continue to advocate for Census participation through digital and online platforms. The organization provided partners with a mini outreach toolkit with social media and email content and templates for letters to editors.
The United States Census Bureau did release a statement on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, that mentioned the Bureau’s contingency plan in this case of the Coronavirus. The Bureau’s statement can be found by clicking to: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2020/statement-coronavirus.html
For more information and resources on the 2020 Census, click to www.nccensus.org.
NC Counts Coalition is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization, established in 2017 to prepare North Carolina for the 2020 Census. The 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. For more information, click to www.nccensus.org.