Census taker B roll

The Census Bureau requires that census takers wear a mask while conducting their work and follow CDC and local public health guidelines when they visit. Contributed photo

The 2020 U.S. Census self-response data collection period will end Oct. 5, according to new information released by the Census Bureau on Monday.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce announced the change despite a California federal judge’s ruling last week that would extend the count through the end of October in response to concerns about the impact of the pandemic on accurate numbers.

The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census of the population be conducted once every 10 years. In a contentious election year marred by a national health and economic crisis, not surprisingly, the census has become a political football.

Census data is used to determine the number of seats each state holds in Congress and how more than $675 billion in federal funds are distributed back to states and local communities every year for services and infrastructure, including health care, jobs, schools, roads and businesses.

The 2020 Census kicked off in January already in a unique position: it’s the first in the nation’s history when data was primarily collected online.

Most households in Moore County received a postcard-style invitation to respond to the census online, by phone or by mail in March. Additional mailings were sent to non-responsive households and census field workers, also known as enumerators, began knocking on doors over the summer.

The original deadline to self-respond was extended last spring until Oct. 31, but Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced a shortened up timeline this summer. The deadline to report census totals to the President is now set at Dec. 31.

As of Tuesday morning, 62.7 percent of households in North Carolina have self-responded and the statewide total enumeration rate is 96.2 percent. As the census count wraps up, total enumeration rate information is only available at the state level.

Moore County’s self-response rate continues to lag behind the national and state average.

Whispering Pines leads the area with the highest self-response rate at 82.5 percent; followed by Pinehurst (73.8 percent), Pinebluff (71.7); Foxfire (70.3 percent), Southern Pines (66 percent) and Aberdeen (65.1 percent).

Robbins (39.1 percent) and Taylortown (50.1 percent) both saw recent upticks in self-response rates, though these areas continue to trail overall.

Other areas with low reporting self-response rates include Cameron (50.9 percent), Vass (53.6 percent) and Carthage (57.3 percent).

If you have not completed the census or if you have questions about the census, visit online at My2020Census.gov or call (844) 330-2020.

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