The U.S. Census Bureau is working to gather a complete count for this year’s census due April 1, and is recruiting census takers to assist with engagement in the population survey.
An accurate census plays a major role in securing funds for relevant local causes including health care, education, food and nutrition programs, housing and child care.
"Local revenue comes primarily from property, sales and other taxes, as well as charges and fees,” Catherine Lazorko, communications manager for the Town of Chapel Hill, said in an email. “State and federal government agencies support our activities through a complex web of intergovernmental grants. Federal funds in 2019 amounted to about $9.5 million."
But Jessica Stanford, a researcher with the Carolina Population Center, said census data is used for more than just securing and allocating funds.
"A lesser-known use of census data is market and labor force research," she said. "Businesses use these estimates to determine where to locate their next corporate HQ or factory. Using this data, economic development groups in North Carolina have been able to advertise the state’s fast population growth and skilled workforce to new companies, bringing additional wealth and revenue to the state."
According to the Town, each individual who goes uncounted in the census results in a loss of $1,800 in Town funds. Chapel Hill Town Council member Karen Stegman said in an email that this money is composed of $1,600 of federal funding and $200 of state funding.
Stegman said the Census Bureau relies on the assistance of local community partners like the Orange County 2020 Complete Count Committee (CCC) to increase awareness and motivate residents to respond to the 2020 census.
“Committee members represent a broad spectrum of government and community leaders from education, business, nonprofits and other community organizations," Stegman said. "The CCC will develop and implement a 2020 Census awareness campaign to encourage residents to respond to the 2020 Census."
The Town has both staff and Council representation on the Orange County CCC.