2020 Census response rate will impact Cape Fear region’s federal funding, political representation
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The U.S. Census is taking place right now and some areas have had a higher response rate than others.
The Census counts every person in the United States and five U.S. territories. As of May 18, the national response rate was 59.5 percent.
North Carolina’s response rate was slightly lower at 55.7 percent with 44.1 percent completing the census online.
In the Cape Fear region alone, New Hanover County is leading with a response rate of 56 percent followed by Pender County (50.2 percent), Brunswick County (47.9 percent), Columbus County (46.4 percent) and Bladen County (41.2 percent).
“The Census Bureau has been sending out information since mid-March to all the households in America, so right now we’re about tied now for 67th of the 100 counties in North Carolina,” said Brunswick County Public Information Officer Meagan Kascsak.
If you think the Census doesn’t impact you, think again.
“The Census is a constitutionally-required event and it’s really important for us all to participate because all the information we collect is going to help our elected officials in our communities in the next 10 years,” Kascsak said.
That information will determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, school lunch programs, block grants for community mental health services, highway planning and construction, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The information is also important for economic development and business recruitment purposes, too. It can also help a region prepare for a natural disaster.
“It’s also important to know how many people are living in a community for emergency situations so we know how many people might be impacted when a hurricane is coming to a section or region of the country,” Kascsak said.
The Census also determines congressional representation and the drawing of congressional and state legislature districts. North Carolina is anticipated to gain another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives based on the 2020 Census count.