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Cornelius News

Stand up (answer the door) and be counted

Aug. 10. Starting this week, the US Census Bureau will be sending out trained enumerators to collect that data door-to-door as part of their “non-response follow-up” plan. Only six out of 10 North Carolina households have filled out their forms.

That means millions of households are not being counted and that means North Carolina risks losing out on an estimated $7.4 billion in funding each year. Census numbers guide how much funding we receive for federal programs like Medicaid, Head Start, school lunches, Pell grants and food stamps.

Here’s a big one: With an accurate 2020 Census count, North Carolina could pick up one more seat in the House of Representatives, increasing its representation from 13 to 14 representatives.

The census is yet another crucial undertaking stymied by the pandemic, but this one can’t recover after a vaccine arrives. The 2020 count officially ends Sept. 30. It will determine the allocation of federal funds, guide new state legislative and congressional district lines and shape government and business decisions for the next decade.

In fact, there are nearly 300 federal programs that provide support to families, based on the data that comes from the U.S. census. It takes about 10 minutes to fill out the questionnaire.