Wake County at nearly 72 percent response rate for 2020 Census, but county leaders want it higher in last push for responses

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The countdown to the 2020 Census is on. You have two more weeks to complete your survey.

Wake County has issued a last minute push campaign for more responses.

Currently, the county is sitting at a 71.5 percent response rate. Leaders say that's great but want that number to be higher to make sure the county doesn't get counted out on federal and state resources.

"While many people think of the census as just a population count. It determines how $675 billion in funding is distributed to communities," said Vickie Adamson of Wake County Government.

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Wake County held a virtual press conference Wednesday, reminding residents of their responsibility.

"Each person not counted equals a loss of about $1,500 and $2,500 funding per year in federal and state funding," said Adamson.

Billions of dollars at risk as North Carolina's 2020 Census response rate lags behind rest of US

The funding goes to healthcare, transportation, education, human services and housing. The census also determines how we're represented in Congress.

"Assuming North Carolina has an accurate census count, the state could gain extra seat in the House of Representatives," said Adamson.

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Like everything this year, the 2020 Census has been impacted by COVID-19.

"We had to cancel the in person outreach effort we planned so we missed many opportunities for counting people one on one," said Adamson.

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But at the same time, COVID-19 drives home the importance of getting the count right.

"The millions of dollars of Federal CARES act was based on the previous Census count," Adamson said.

There's even more incentive. Wake County has upped the stakes as they take on Mecklenburg County for the highest response rate. On the line is a signed Hurricanes jersey that the team donated.

So while the pandemic hampered the ability for physical outreach, Wake County and its municipalities said they're getting creative to make sure everyone is counted.

"We're targeting those hard to count communities with door hangers. Social media has been a huge tool. And we continue to use that up until the last days," said Tim Maloney of Wake County Government.

If you haven't been visited by a Census rep you can call to complete it over the phone, mail back your pamphlet or go online.
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