Have you been counted yet?
Census takers will begin Aug. 11 follow-up visits to households that have not responded. If you haven’t yet completed the 2020 Census on your own, you may still fill it out online, by phone or using the form mailed in April.
As of Aug. 5, 48.5% of White County residents had participated in the Census. The self-response rate for Cleveland was 52.3% and Helen was at 20.5%. Georgia’s rate was 58.7%, and 63% nationwide had responded.
White County had an 84.4% response rate in the 2010 Census.
Changes in population counts can affect funding from federal programs, government representation and local development planning. The county and state have much to gain from greater participation, says White County Board of Commissioners Chairman Travis Turner. He points out Georgia’s growth led to it picking up two congressional seats in the 2000 Census and another in 2010.
“I think most everyone would look around us and we can see that Georgia is growing,” Turner said. “We definitely want to get every person counted, because I feel like there’s an opportunity for additional congressional seats that the state of Georgia could pick up.”
The data also factors in determined areas represented by state lawmakers and local government districts.
Turner says Georgia receives about $28.3 billion of $675 billion in funding for certain federal programs. That includes Medicaid, WIC (Women, Infants and Children) services, Head Start, meals for schools and the county senior citizen center, as well as additional grant funding.
“All this data does come around and affects our ability to apply for assistance through other means,” Turner says.
Census data also provides insight on local growth and development needs.
The nationwide population count is mandated every 10 years by the U.S. Constitution. Questions will seek information on the number of people in a household and demographic data, among other details. There are three ways to fill out the survey: Go online at www.my2020census.gov; call 1-844-330-2020 (English) or 1-844-468-2020 (Spanish); fill out the paper survey that came in the mail and send it back to the U.S. Census Bureau, which says it is bound by law to protect answers and keep them confidential.
“It was less than 10 minutes to complete my Census survey. It was very easy, very simple,” Turner says. “Please help White County make sure everyone counts by responding to the Census and encourage others to do the same. Simply put – help us help you be counted.”