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Current State of the 2020 Census in North Carolina on National 2020 Census Day – April 1st

The Census happens once every decade with the mission of counting every person living in the United States once, only once and in the right place. The 2020 Census is a huge opportunity for North Carolina, especially because North Carolina’s population has increased by 10 percent since 2010. North Carolina is now the ninth most populated state, the fifth fastest growing state by numeric growth and the 10th fastest growing state by percent.

With growth comes challenges, including achieving a complete and accurate 2020 Census count. Many challenges, obstacles and misinformation about the Census persist which could hamper participation – especially in black communities, communities of color and in rural communities, which have been traditionally undercounted in the Census. The Urban Institute estimates that as many as 119,600 North Carolina residents may be undercounted in this upcoming Census.

To add to the already existing challenges of counting communities, the 2020 Census operation started for North Carolina amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Coronavirus is disrupting most of NC Counts Coalition’s education and outreach program for the Census,” said Stacey Carless, Executive Director of NC Counts Coalition. “Our programs are based on data, touches and relationships. It is about using data to determine where to target outreach, and then going into the communities highlighted by the data to build relationships with community members and educate and engage them for 2020 Census participation. Our organization and our partners are having to pivot and utilize other tactics, such as online and digital outreach and phone banks.”

An example of this pivot is National Census Day, April 1, 2020, a day of education and outreach around the 2020 Census. In recognition of Census Day, NC Counts Coalition and several of its partners were going to roll out Census inspired murals in Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina along with hosting community event across the state. “We are still doing murals and we are still going to host an event, but we will be doing it all virtually for Census Day,” said Carless. NC Counts Coalition will be hosting a virtual press conference on April 1, 2020 with partners NC Complete Count Commission, NC Rural Center and Carolina Demography. Following the press conference, the Coalition will host a virtual ‘Census Day Party” where it will feature 3 of the ‘Art Counts’ mural artists and their artwork, along with Census trivia for prizes and a call to action from Coalition partners, NC Child, NALEO Educational Fund, NC Campus Compact and NC Asian Americans Together. The press conference will take place 11:15 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. on April 1, 2020, followed by the Census Day Party, which will take place from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

It is vital everyone living in North Carolina on April 1, 2020, or anyone who spends at least 50% of their time in North Carolina, be counted as living in North Carolina on the 2020 Census.

The message is simple and can be summarized with three C’s:

  • Responding to the Census is convenient. Households can respond by mail,phone (1-844-330-2020) or online (www.my2020Census.gov).
  • The Census is 100% confidential and protected by federal law. Answers to the Census will not be shared with anyone for at least 72 years.
  • Everyone must be counted because the Census is critical to the economic and general-well-being of North Carolina.“As we grapple with COVID-19, we must not forget the Census,” Carless further stated. “North Carolina must be counted to ensure that our state receives the funding it needs post Coronavirus to ensure vibrant and healthy communities throughout North Carolina. We only get one shot every ten years to get it right and NC Counts Coalition and our partners remain committed to counting every single individual in North Carolina.”For more information on NC Counts Coalition, please visit www.nccensus.org.NC Counts Coalition was 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 go to our website at www.nccensus.org. 


    2020 Census – Media Fact Sheet


    What is the Census?


    The Census is a complete count of every single person living in the United States on April 1, 2020, regardless of immigration status, housing status or age. Everyone Counts!

    Why is the Census important to North Carolina?


    An accurate count is critically important as it determines how much federal fundingNorth Carolina will receive for essential services that impact local communities. In 2017, North Carolina received nearly $24 billion in federal funding, including:

    • $11.1 billion for health programs
    • $4.05 billion for education
    • $3.06 billion for food assistance programs
    • $1 billion for highway planning and construction
    • $370 million for housing assistance
    • $267 million for transitThe Census count is also used to shape congressional representation and more. Currently North Carolina has 13 representatives in the U.S. House but stands the chance of gaining one seat with a complete and accurate 2020 Census count. If that happens, North Carolina’s congressional districts would have to be redrawn, which would also lead to an increase in the number of electoral votes North Carolina has in presidential elections.
    • How does the Census operation work?Beginning in March, the U.S. Census Bureau began sending each household an invitation for residents to respond to the Census. By now, every household in North Carolina should have received an invitation to respond to the Census online, over the phone or by mail. The Census questionnaire asks nine questions. A copy of the questionnaire can be found here: https://2020census.gov/content/dam/2020census/materials/partners/2019- 08/2020-informational-questionnaire.pdf. Only one person should complete the Census for the entire household. Every individual, including young children, should be counted. 
    • What is the timeline for participation?The process began on March 12, 2020 and ends August 14, 2020. April 1. 2020 is Census Day, but this day only serves as a reference date. Individuals have until August 14, 2020

    to participate in the Census. Anyone who does not respond to the Bureau’s invitationwill receive reminders in the mail until early May. Households that do not respond to the Bureau’s invitations will be visited Census staff. The final Census count must be delivered to the president by Dec. 31, 2020.


    Is the Census confidential?
    By law, answers to the Census are CONFIDENTIAL. The U.S. Census Bureau collects data for statistical purposes only and cannot share or publish any household-specific Census data including name, address, Social Security number or phone number. The U.S. Census Bureau will not identify participants’ household, any person in a participant’s household or business.

    COVID-19 Impact on Census Timeline

    • The deadline for self-response online, by phone or by returning the paper questionnaire has been extended to August 14 (from July 31).
    • Other operation updates can be found on the US Census Bureau’s website: https://2020census.gov/en/news-events/operational-adjustments-covid-19.html?#