Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper has joined a bipartisan coalition of governors from Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington to urge the U.S. Census Bureau to extend the Census through October 31 to help ensure a complete count.
In a signed letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, Cooper and the other governors outline concerns about the decision to end 2020 Census Count operations a month early, which could jeopardize efforts to get a complete and accurate population count as required by the U.S. Constitution every 10 years.
“Your recent announcement calls into question how millions of Americans who have yet to fill out their 2020 Census will be counted. It is surprising to hear how optimistic the Census Bureau is about being able to reach 100% in less than 60 days, given the current daily self-response rate and the fact that, as of the writing of this letter, only 63% of the country has responded to the 2020 Census,” Cooper and the other governors wrote in the letter. “By your own calculations made when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the October 31 date is crucial for the Census Bureau to be able to meet its constitutional obligation and do it in a way that does not jeopardize the public health.”
North Carolinians who have not yet responded to the 2020 Census can do so by going to MY2020CENSUS.GOV, by calling 1-844-330-2020, or by mailing in their Census form if they received one in the mail.
Because the 2020 Census was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ending count efforts early would make it especially difficult to get a complete count and ensure full federal funding and representation for North Carolina. As of July 31, 41 percent of North Carolina households – an estimated 4 million residents – had not yet completed the 2020 Census.
A potential undercount could put North Carolina at risk of losing $7.4 billion per year for health care, education, highways, community services, economic development, disaster recovery and more over the next decade.
North Carolinians most at risk of being undercounted live in rural counties, which make up approximately 80 percent of the state. This includes military families, eastern counties impacted by recent natural disasters and communities with already limited access to health care.
A complete and accurate Census count could bring $1,823 per person per year in federal and state funds back to North Carolina communities, helping our most vulnerable populations including the elderly and communities of color. An undercount could also jeopardize North Carolina adding another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives to represent the people of our state’s interests.
The full letter can be read HERE.
To learn more about 2020 Census efforts in North Carolina, visit https://census.nc.gov/.