A mid-March mailing sent out by the U.S. Census Bureau was largely overlooked -- or not received at all -- by many residents in Moore County. As a result, the participation rate has lagged behind expectations.
Currently, just over half of the county’s households have responded (52.3 percent) versus the state and national averages, at 54.7 and 58.6 percent respectively.
The 2020 Census is unique in that it’s the first in history with data being collected primarily online. In March, a postcard-style invitation was sent to households encouraging people to respond online, by mail or telephone.
As of May 11, Whispering Pines continues to lead the area with the highest response rate (76.6 percent), followed by Pinehurst (65.8 percent) and Foxfire (61.6 percent).
Many of Moore County’s smaller municipalities are reporting the lowest participation rates, including Cameron (21.3 percent), Robbins (27.9 percent) and Vass (36.3 percent).
Theresa Thompson, Moore County’s planning supervisor, has helped coordinate local census outreach to ensure an accurate count.
“As we adapt to this time of social distancing and the stay at home orders, it is important to remember the 2020 Census and the 10 year impact it will have on our County including political representation, federal funding, and community planning,” Thompson said.
Beyond the initial efforts such as community meetings, radio and newspaper ads, and a county-wide coloring contest, the Moore County Complete Count Committee has continued to get the word out through their various organizations such as the Sandhills Community College, the NAACP, and Partners for Children, added Thompson.
Currently, the Census Bureau and Moore County Schools are working on a plan to distribute census coloring books as part of the ongoing meal distribution program.
“Additionally, we are addressing the lower count areas of Moore County by working with the Census Bureau in reaching out to these communities,” Thompson said.
Data collected by the census 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.
Fortunately, it’s not too late to participate.
If your household did not receive the U.S. Census postcard or you have misplaced it, you may still complete the census questionnaire online at www.my2020census.gov or by calling 1-844-330-2020.