Today (April 1) is Census Day, and that means it’s time for the Constitutionally mandated count of the United States population.
The 2020 count includes the United States and five U.S. territories.
○ You can respond to the questionnaire online, by phone, or mail.
○ Most households should have already received documents with directions about how to respond to the Census questionnaire. Check out a sample questionnaire here.
○ If you have not received information about how to respond, contact the bureau or keep reading to find out how to respond without the documents.
○ Today, NC Counts Coalition will host a virtual press conference + Census Day Party from 12-1 p.m., featuring DJ sets, recognition of local artists + trivia (with prizes).
How’s it going locally so far?
On March 21, the U.S. Census Bureau released initial response rates for each state, county and city across the country. Here’s what it looks like.
○ 34.7% of households nationally have responded since invites started arriving on March 12
○ 31.6% of North Carolina households have responded
○ 29.9% of Buncombe County households have responded
NC is currently in the bottom 15 states in responding to the Census, and WNC in particular has some of the lowest response rates in the state. WNC also has lower internet access than other areas in NC.
OK. So, what do I need to do?
You should have gotten information about how to fill out the questionnaire, which you can do online or via the physical form.
If you prefer real paper, use a pen with blue or black ink or a No. 1 pencil to fill out the form. Mail it back in the paid-postage return envelope. Yay, you’re finished!
If you have lost the envelope, the address to send questionnaires is here, and if you have questions, you can call 1-800-354-7271.
If you want to complete the questions online, you just need to know your 12-digit ID number. That information could have come in one of two mailed documents — one inviting you to fill out the Census questionnaire online or another mailing, which is the physical paper questionnaire.
To get started, enter your number here. The entire process should only take between 5-15 minutes.
If you don’t have either of those documents, you can still respond online. Details here.
If you don’t respond, a Census Bureau representative may call or visit you.
Check out frequently asked questions here for more information.
Why do we need a population count?
○ The Constitution mandates that the country count its population once every 10 years.
○ Billions of dollars in federal funding for hospitals, fire departments, roads and schools, among other necessities, are based on census data.
○ The census data also determines the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives. And that information is used to draw state and congressional legislative districts. NC is projected to gain a seat in Congress based on Census data.
Check out this short video about how filling out the 2020 Census can impact your city’s future.