North Carolinians responding to 2020 Census at lower rates

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Thursday at 11:59 p.m. is the deadline for completing your Census form.

At this point, North Carolina has once again fallen behind in terms of self-response rates.

“It’s really getting down to the wire here,” said a demographic analyst at Carolina Demography, Jessica Stanford.

While the Census Bureau reports 99 percent of homes have been accounted for. Carolina Demography explained that number doesn’t tell the government everything it needs to know about the state population.

That total enumerated rate is a combination of self-response rates and the non-response follow-up. That follow up doesn’t mean people have actually been counted.

It could mean a Census taker asked a neighbor about your or the home was flagged as needing administrative records.

Declining Responses Rates

Responses for the state and a few Triangle counties can be found below. Wake County’s response rate has outpaced the state’s rate since at least the 2000 Census.

WAKE COUNTY73.1%71.8%71%
DURHAM COUNTY61.8%67.7%68%
Source: Data acquired through Carolina Demography

Carolina Demography said a new online form and displaced people as a result of the pandemic may be part of the reason for the decline.

“We have heard several reports about individuals being confused about the online process. Individuals have had to move out of their homes or apartments if they can no longer afford rent,’ she said.

Those declines could be long-term consequences. Stanford said just a three percent undercount in children under age five could result in a loss of $330 million in federal funding.

She said companies have used Carolina Demography’s Census data to determine investments in the areas like the Research Triangle Park.

“Just like with other things like voting, its like every person counts,” she said.

How to be counted:

  • Internet self-response will be available across the nation through October 15, 2020 until 11:59 pm Hawaii Standard Time (HST), (6:00 am Eastern Daylight Time on October 16, 2020) Visit to respond today.
  • Phone response will be available for its regularly scheduled time on October 15, 2020. Click here for schedule and a list of numbers.
  • Paper responses must be postmarked by October 15, 2020.

Avoiding Census scammers

Census impersonators were out in neighborhoods as early as last year.

Legitimate Census takers won’t:

  • Seek financial information
  • Request social security numbers
  • Survey neighborhoods past October 15
  • Census takers WILL wear a photo I.D. badge and bag

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