The census result determines whether our communities will get the resources they need to thrive, and to recover from COVID-19. This includes funds for first responders, schools, roads, and child care. Billions in federal funding to North Carolina each year depends on an accurate census count.
In 2010, the Census missed more than 25,000 young children in North Carolina – one of the highest undercounts in the nation. As a result, North Carolina lost billions in federal funding for our essential infrastructure and public services. We also lost a seat in Congress.
North Carolina stands to lose billions in federal funding every year for schools, roads, child care, health care and more because of the pandemic. A federal judge recently blocked the Census Bureau from cutting the count short – we need Congress to act to ensure a full, fair, accurate count.
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You can help to ensure a complete count in your local community.
Connect with the NC Counts Coalition.
Get resources in Spanish and English tailored to the Latino community. Connect with NALEO Education Fund.
Get more information on the importance of an accurate census count in North Carolina. Visit the official North Carolina Census site.
Watch your mailbox for a postcard from the US Census Bureau. That postcard contains a website, and a code that is unique to your household. You can fill out the census yourself, on your own schedule, and it only takes about 10 minutes to complete.
If you do not fill out the census form, a census worker will come to your house to ensure that you take part in the census.
See the most frequently asked questions about the census.
The census is a count of every person living in the United States. It is required by the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 2). The primary purpose of the census, as mandated in the Constitution, is to determine how seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are assigned among the states. The results of the census are also used to determine how $800 billion in federal funding is distributed among the states each year.
Programs that every single parent and child depend on get their funding determined by the census count. These include infrastructure like roads, fire departments, hospitals, and schools, as well as programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and school lunches.
No. The federal government is not one big office with a giant supercomputer crunching all government data in one place.
If the Census doesn’t go out and count every person where they live, and find out more about their household, then none of the agencies in the federal government or the states will be able to plan their work. The Census is the only source for all that data.
Count every single person residing in your home. Count every child, including babies. The census counts everyone living in the United States, regardless or citizenship status or age.
Even a baby born on April 1, 2020 should be counted in the Census.
The Census only happens once every ten years. The results of the 2020 Census will last until that newborn baby is ten years old. In order to plan correctly for things like school construction and child care services, we must count every baby and child in the 2020 Census.
Yes. By law (13 U.S. Code § 9), information gathered from the census is 100% confidential and cannot be shared with any other government agency. Census workers take an oath to protect the privacy of the information collected. They can face jail time and heavy fines if they violate that oath.
In general, students who normally live on campus in colleges and universities temporarily closed due to COVID-19 were counted by their schools as part of the Census Bureau’s 2020 Group Quarters operation, because that’s where they live and sleep most of the time.
More than half of all colleges and universities have already submitted a count to the Census Bureau of students who usually live on campus. About 35 percent of schools chose an option called drop-off/pick-up, which allows students to self-respond using an Individual Census Questionnaire (ICQ). In light of COVID-19, the Census Bureau is contacting those schools to ask whether they would like to change that preference.
Students who usually live off-campus should fill out the census for themselves. They should have already received a paper form to their usual place of residence. Census Bureau enumerators will be following up in-person to households in areas with off-campus housing to try and get a response. If students have missed these outreach efforts because they’re already living back at home, they can still respond online or over the phone using their usual address information.
Yes. Call one of the hotlines below to get help filling out your census. These hotlines offer help in several languages:
The US Census Bureau’s Atlanta office can help you verify whether the person at your door is a local census taker. They can also connect you with a partnership specialist: (470) 889-6800
The 2020 Census is the first Decennial Census where people can be counted over the internet. The U.S. Census Bureau sent every U.S. household a postcard before Census Day (April 1). That postcard contains a link to fill out the census, as well as a code that is unique to that household. The code lets the Census Bureau know that the household has completed the census. If they do not, the Census Bureau will mail a paper questionnaire to the household. If the Census Bureau does not receive a response on paper, a census worker will come to the house to help that person fill out the form.
Households will be able to choose to respond via the traditional census-taking methods, including over the phone, and on paper forms.
The Decennial Census was established in Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution to count U.S. residents, not citizens. Census data allows communities and businesses to plan for things like emergency preparedness, housing development, new product development, and job markets.
In June 2019, the Supreme Court blocked the proposed citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census forms. Many who work with immigrants – documented and undocumented – reported that a citizenship question would have led to a much more inaccurate census. When people are afraid to fill out the form, everyone in the household can be left out of the count.
These people should be counted at their “usual residence” – wherever they live and sleep most of the time.
The US Census Bureau does not have the budget or the community connections to do it all. They rely on community groups and leaders to spread the word about the importance of the census – especially in communities that are likely to be undercounted. Local Complete Count Committees are the best way for advocates to get involved in the ‘Get Out the Count’ process, with an emphasis on leaders or “trusted messengers” in Latinx, immigrant, and other communities that are often undercounted.
North Carolina has a Governor-appointed state Complete Count Commission that consists of 32 members representing a wide range of constituencies. The Commission is chaired by NC Department of Administration Secretary Machelle Sanders. The Commission provides strategic direction to local Complete Count