Wake County could lose millions if more don't participate in census
Wake County leaders update the progress in the 2020 census, the once-a-decade population count that determines federal funding for schools, roads and so much more.
to our communities. North Carolina receives about 16 billion annually in federal funding. Each person not counted equals the loss of between 1525 $100 per year in federal and state funding over the next decade. That equals to a loss of about 15 to $20,000 per person not counted. This could mean millions of dollars lost for Weight County if more residents don't complete the census. This funding goes toward health care, transportation, education, human services and housing. The census also determines how were represented in Congress. Assuming North Carolina has an accurate census count, State is projected to gain an additional seat in the House of Representatives. The census results God how local leaders plan in place services in our community, including roads, schools, hospitals, senior centers and emergency services. And they determine whether businesses decide to locate corporate headquarters, factories and stores in our area like everything else. This year, the 2000 and 20 census was impacted by Cova 19. We had to cancel the in person outreach effort we had planned, so we missed many opportunities to connect with people one on one. The timeline for counting people just got pushed out and there was a delay getting the census takers out in the CEO. These effects have made it harder to get an accurate count, but at the same time, over 19 has also drove home the importance of getting a complete count. The millions of dollars of Federal Cares Act funding allocated in Wake County was based on the 2000 and 10. Since this count, these funds went towards testing and tracing e food from book distribution, housing assistance, transit options and utility assistance payments. So where are we now? Currently, Wake County self response rate is 71.8%. This is including people who have completed the senses online, by mail or by fault. This means we have met our 2000 and 10 final self response rate. That's great, but we need that number to be hired to make sure we don't miss out on Resource is, and we still have time to make that happen. That's why we're asking for your help today. As we live into the final two weeks, you can still respond to the census on your own online, by phone or by mail. All the details are at their website 2000 and 20 census dot gov. That's 2000 and 20 census dot gov. If you If you're visited by census taker, please know the process on Lee takes a few minutes, they'll be wearing mask and staying at least 6 ft away. They'll also show you a badge with the U. S Census Bureau watermark so you can trust their official again. We strongly encourage you to take just a few minutes to complete your census form. A brief moment of your time will pay big dividends for the next 10 years. For all of us in Wake County, I now like to open up for any questions from the media to help answer them. I have planning director Tim Bologna in long range planning administrator Sharon Peterson here, here to help us. Alice, would you mind sharing our first question? Thanks. Thank you, Vice chair. I'm waiting to see if I get taken off. My video comes up. Um, so we're happy to ask to take questions now to the reporters on the line. If you all could just drop the questions into the chat box and make sure you're directing them to everyone I'll read them in the order. We get them to our Panelists. So while we wait for questions, I'm gonna go ahead and ask something now. So we've heard a lot about recently in the 2020 Census and these air these senses challenges that are going on, we know that a few towns in Wake County had their own challenges where they're, you know, seeing who can come up with you could get the highest response rate. So this has generated a lot of buzz and, you know, it's it's given. It's a fun aspect. So Wake County also has a challenge with our friends over in Mecklenburg County. So if I shared, you want to tell us a little bit about that? Yes, um, one of the outcomes of this census, the U. S Census Bureau estimates in 1000 more citizens than Mecklenburg County does. So we could get to be not only the capital county that the largest county in the state and we so we challenged Mecklenburg and our gift to them was the hurricanes donated assigned Jersey that we had framed. And if they got a higher self response rate than we did, we were going to deliver the signed jersey to them. And if we we had a higher self response, right, We got to keep it. And I'm happy to announce that we are at 7.71 point 8% and they're at 65.9% were six points higher than they are. So it looks like we're gonna get to keep the jersey in Wake County. Of course, we have seven commissioners who? I'll think it belongs in their office. But I think it will probably end up in our conference room. So when the 2000 and 30 senses will come around, it will remind them that they have a high bar to complete with what we did this time. Okay, we've got our first question. This is from the last car. Uh huh. Little county making during the final two weeks before the response deadline. Ah, larger social media push more census workers knocking on doors, reaching out to more community organizations. Um, Tim. Vicky, I'm not sure which one of you when it's going to take this, but just jump in. Tim, You want to take that one? Sure. I can take that one. We are doing everything that we can to engage all of our stakeholders across the community for this final two week push. Ah, couple of examples are the county has has pushed out several 1000 door hangers to distribute to apartment complexes to make in low responding communities to ensure that those have the message that there's two more weeks to go online and do their senses. So we're targeting those hard to count communities with those door hangers again. Social media has been a huge tool that we have used throughout this effort, and we continue to use that right up until the very last day. Yeah, and tell him I wanted to add to that the each of our municipalities air doing a last minute push as well. I know carry purchased 1500 yard signs that have a thermometer on it about where they're at, where they like to be, and they have put those all over Carrie. And so we've got a lot of last minute efforts in the U. S. Census Bureau on Saturday night is actually going to do a driving moving at the Y M C A on a rock quarry road to to provoke the senses. So if you want something to do on Saturday night, there's lots of information out there about the movie. Thank you. I think that those answers are all indicative. Thio what we were facing with Cove in 19 on how we had to kind of do some different things to get the word out, as opposed to the in person events that you mentioned earlier. Um, Tim or vice chair Sharon, could you talk a little bit about how else the code 19 pandemic affected our outreach efforts and also the response, right? I'll take that one. Alice, Thank you for the question. Obviously, the pandemic has hampered our ability to conduct public outreach at community events across Wake County. Uh, this certainly prompted us do leverage social media as much as we possibly could. Uh, the lack of community average did impact have had may have impacted our response, right, But there's no data that tells us otherwise. When you look at our rates right now, we have equals ourself response rate since 2010. However, in 2010 we were able to achieve that through outreach events in concluding in May, and here we are uh, in the middle of September reaching that. So it has been a challenge. But those efforts have been very fruitful in our in our results. And again, as Commissioner Adam stated, we've got two weeks left to go. We don't want to stop now. We want to get a ZMA much as we possibly can. Yeah. And Tim, I wanted to add, we got a really early start in wake. We started going to events in March of 2000 and 19 so we had a lot of outreach going on when code that happened. And we were fortunate that we had a lot of citizens, community organizations step up to help us. We had over 100 people on our complete county. Everybody who represents those organizations and their organizations air out there doing the last minute push to get everybody signed up. Thank you. We have a question here from Jimmy's Price. How did the 2010 Census impact? Wake County? How much money did the county lose with lack of participation? Tim, would you like to take that question? Because you e could take that one. Yeah, e don't think we know of an exact number of how much the county may have lost from 2010. We're confident that the numbers that we had in 2010 in terms of participation rates and the funding that we got from the federal government was everything that we were, uh, intended to get, but again, back to a commissioner, Adam said in your opening remarks, is that money goes towards ah lot of public services, whether it's health care, transportation, education. Uh, and when you look at the numbers that we have right now, you know it's about $1500 a person a year. When you add it up over a 10 year period, that is a large sum of revenue. Ah, federal distributions coming to help our community in in many, many ways. But putting a number on on what may have been lost is data that we simply don't have. I'm sorry to that, Um, I think because we've had such strong community partners in this effort, we are above the national average or above the state average, and we're currently third in the state and we're tied with Orange County. So So it would be nice for us to end up the second highest in the state, even though we may be the largest urban county. And so one new thing this year, other than conducted themselves in the census during a pandemic, was that people could participate online for the first time. Do you all have any idea about the percentage of people who did that from our total percent of 71.8? How many completed it online? Well, thank you for that question, Alice, we dio a Z stated earlier. The county's current self response rate, as of today, is 71.8%. That's equally what we did in 2010. And what we do know is that of that 71.8% 66% have used the online tool. So it has been overwhelmingly accepted by the community to go online and very easily in a matter of minutes to participate in the census. Uh, that 66% online is compared to about 6% who responded by phone or mail. And Alice, I think, um, that's a That's really good, because one of the things that I personally did when I filled out my senses, you know, if you if you get a paper form, you have to fill it out. You have to get it to the mail. It za cumbersome process. When I filled out my personal senses, I time to myself and from the log on screen in my computer to completion was 4.5 minutes. So I think it made it much easier now. One of the cove it challenges was for folks who are not so computer literate or don't have computer access or have a limited use. It, um, limited data on their phones. We had planned to make our library sort of ground zero for that and unfortunately, you know, due to Co that our libraries were closed. But folks did have the option and still have the option of filling in a paper form and returning that if they're not comfortable with the online or calling the phone number and given their information and also during the census process. I called the phone number several times to just see if I could get on and ask questions and see if I got accurate information and I got accurate information every time, and I never waited longer than three minutes for an actual operator to pick up. It truly is a very quick process this year. Yeah, it z very, very easy. Um, on. Do you mentioned the phone numbers will be sitting on a news release following this conference with the phone number that you know people can use to call in if they prefer to respond that way. It's available in a variety of languages. So there's that option. Okay, we have another question from Celeste. She appreciates the example of Kerry purchasing yard signs for the final two week push. Do you have any other examples of what else other municipalities air doing to draw attention? I know you've been from the door hangers in Raleigh, but what else is happening? I can add a couple of examples that I'll let Sharon chime in. For example, the town of Apex hired a mobile advertising advertising truck to drive around town with information about participating in the census. They found that after that had driven around town, they saw a little a little bump in some of their participation results. Another example is the town of Kerry. I'm sorry. The town of Morris Bill uh, council sent out a letter to nearly all residents within the town of Morris Bill reminding them to participate in in the census. Sharon, do you want to share some ideas? Sure. Several of our talents has also had almost a weekly presence. When they're farmers, markets have been opened. Um, and those Lindale, Holly Springs, Wake Forest. Um, and also we've had towns that have besides doing letters, the county actually send out postcards, Um uh, several thousands of them on on various occasions to targeted zip codes and neighborhoods. And the other thing we've been doing is a county is we've had a, um, some signs and information in our drive through testing. The people who come for that have some census information coming into the testing slide. Thank you all. So that's all the questions we have any other reporters on the line? If you have a question, just drop it in the chat, and I'll read it. Otherwise I'll e didn't to wrap things up. I don't see anything, so I think it's all you. Well, I want to thank everyone for joining us today and helping us with this last two weeks push to get our senses completed, and if you think of any questions later that you have? Just let us know we'll answer those. But thank you so much for joining us today. Uh, you have a last minute question if you want to take it. Oh, sure. I got one last minute questions. It says yes, that vice chair. Chair forward. By the way, Battle Vice chair. How much fun are you having leading this effort? This has been an absolute blast. Um, it when we were having in person events, we got all the sense of swag. You know that, um bags, Frisbees, ink, pens. And of course, we had t shirts. And so we were going to in person events. Everybody loves somebody handing outs. Why especially ink pens. The two favorite swags we had were ink pens, and we got chip back clips that had the census on it. Those were our two most popular items. So it was unfortunate when we had to go to a virtual environment thio to do our senses. But it has been a lot of fun, and it's kind of sad to see it come to an end, but it's it's good that we're having overall really good results and hopefully are. We could get a couple of more points out of this last two weeks. All right, thank you all very much. That I well