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U.S. Census Bureau starts in-person visits

There may be a knock at the door for many Beaufort County residents in the coming weeks, as U.S. Census workers go from door-to-door to follow up with households that have not yet responded to the decennial population count.

As of this week, self-response rates for Beaufort County were hovering at 55.9%, compared to a statewide self-response rate of 60.2%. For a variety of reasons, from allocation of federal funding to determining representation in Congress and the North Carolina General assembly, local leaders say there’s a lot riding on getting an accurate census count.

“There are a lot of challenges, not only with the self-reporting piece, just because of access, as well as the challenges we have with COVID,” said Beaufort County Manager Brian Alligood. “We certainly hope folks will fill that out and be responsive when the folks come out to follow up on that. It’s critical for us.”

By municipality, the response rates were as follows this week:

  • Washington Park = 70.8%
  • Washington = 60%
  • Bath = 54.2%
  • Pantego = 50%
  • Belhaven = 49.5%
  • Chocowinity = 44.6%
  • Aurora = 42.6%

According to Carolina Demography, a team of demographic researchers focused on population changes, North Carolina could miss out on $1.5 trillion dollars in federal during the course of the next decade due to an inaccurate count, impacting services such as hospitals, schools, pre-k services, emergency response, senior services and Pell grants to help college students. North Carolina’s representation in Congress could also be affected, with an accurate count gaining the state an additional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

As census takers visit homes in our area, the U.S. Census Bureau offers the following guidelines to help identify its employees:

  • All Census Bureau employees will present an official ID badge bearing their name, photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date.
  • They will be carrying an official 2020 census bag and a Census Bureau issued iPhone.
  • Upon request, census takers will provide their supervisor’s contact information or a phone number for the regional census center, which can answer questions about the census.

For those who would rather complete the census themselves, the window for self-response has been extended to Sept. 30. One can respond online at 2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020 or by mailing back a completed questionnaire to U.S. Census Bureau National Processing Center, 1201 E. Tenth St.
Jeffersonville, IN 47132.