Every 10 years brings the U.S. Census, the official count of people living in America. So far, in the 2020 count, Chatham is showing up.
Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to the News + Record – you can do so by clicking here.
Every 10 years brings the U.S. Census, the official count of people living in America.
So far, in the 2020 count, Chatham is showing up.
As of the morning of Thursday, 28.1 percent of Chatham County residents had been accounted for in the Census count, according to the US Census Bureau’s Census response rate map. These are individuals that have received notices by mail and have filled out the online form.
The rate is higher than both the national (26.2 percent) and state (23.9 percent) rate.
For Courtney Cooper-Lewter, an analyst with the Chatham County Manager’s Office, this type of response is positive because of what the Census means to Chatham.
“The Census is important for three main reasons: federal funding, political representation and community planning,” Cooper-Lewter said. “Census data brings federal tax dollars back to Chatham County. Our numbers determine the number of seats North Carolina has in the US House of Representatives. It is also used for redistricting at the national, state and local level. Lastly, Census data helps plan roads, schools, hospitals, senior centers, and emergency services in our communities. It also assists businesses in locating corporate headquarters, factories and stores.”
Specifically in Chatham, Census data affects how much funding is given to programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicare and Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program food stamps and National School Lunch Program grants. Cooper-Lewter said Chatham is the recipient of more than $132.9 million annually.
The county has put effort into advertising the Census and encouraging people to fill it out. Cooper-Lewter said the Chatham Complete Count Committee (CCCC) — a group made up of county, municipal, organization and business leaders in Chatham that she chairs — had been making presentations to groups in the area, but the COVID-19 spread has put a kibosh on those.
“We have had to re-imagine some of our efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “However, with limited physical contact we have turned to our social media pages to share information about the upcoming 2020 Census.”
The CCCC is working on scheduling a Facebook Live presentation with The Hispanic Liaison in Siler City as well as giving information to parents picking up meals at schools. There could also be changes in the timeline for counting the homeless population and making home visits.
If you do not have internet access but wish to complete the Census, you can call 844-330-2020.
“If households have not completed their 2020 Census online or by phone, towards the mid-April and end of April the US Census Bureau will send the paper questionnaire to households,” Cooper-Lewter said. “If households have still not completed the Census, then a Census worker will come to their home to collect the Census information. All information provided to the US Census Bureau is completely confidential and by law cannot be shared with any government agency, school or landlord. It is only used to produce statistics.”
Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.