CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — It’s almost time for the 2020 Census for the first time in a decade, and leaders in Carolina Beach are attempting to educate the public on its importance.
Experts stress that the census is about more than just how many people there are in a certain area, or even in the country. It could mean the difference between getting much needed disaster funding, especially in a growing area like the Cape Fear.
“Every single individual equals money and power coming back to their local area,” said Demorrio Thomas with the U.S. Census Bureau.
Thomas says the numbers translate to more than you might think.
“Money, in the form of $675 billion allocated annually to the 50 states and territories, and power in the form of political representation,” Thomas said.
Every 10 years, the results of the census are used to redetermine how many seats each state gets in the House of Representatives. It also affects state and congressional districts.
“It’s only done every ten years, so not everyone is very versed in what it’s all about and how it affects us,” said Leeann Tluchowski with the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce.
The census results also affect funding for government programs, public safety and emergency preparedness.
“Road construction, where hospitals and health care facilities are built, community development block grants, our smart start, meals on wheels,” Thomas said.
Beginning March 12, anyone can go online to complete the census. It can also be completed over the phone or by mail.
“We want an individual to be counted where their primary residence is, so if they’re living here a majority of the time, we want them to be counted here,” Thomas said.
Thomas also says it’s important that zero-to-five-year-olds, undocumented and non-English-speaking immigrants, senior citizens and renters participate, as they will be using resources over the next 10 years.
“We want to make sure that those hard-to-count populations are counted,” Thomas said.
All census data is protected by law.
Bladen County has allocated $5,800 towards census promotion and Brunswick has allocated $15,000.
New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington have formed the Cape Fear Counts Campaign.
The deadline for the census is July 31.