Moore County is growing younger, statistically speaking, as the median age continues to decrease even as more folks over the age of 65 are living in the area, according to newly released data.
The American Community Survey 5-year survey, administered by the U.S. Census Bureau, estimates the area’s population at 97,924.
The study indicates the percentage of local folks 65 years and older has continued to tick up slightly, from 22.9 percent of the population in 2010 to 23.8 percent.
At the same time, the overall median age has skewed down from 45.3 years recorded in the 2010 U.S. Census to 44.3 years. The national median is estimated at 38.1 years.
According to the new results, Moore County residents are also better educated — with 90.7 percent of the population achieving a high school diploma and 37.4 percent attaining a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree — in comparison to national averages.
There are also more homeowners, with 75.7 percent of Moore County residents owning their own home compared to 64 percent homeownership rate across the nation.
The median house value of $216,500 is slightly lower than the $217,500 national average; similarly, the median household income is $59,963 compared to $62,842 nationally.
Not surprisingly given our close proximity to Camp Mackall and Fort Bragg — the largest military installation in the world, by population — Moore County has a robust veteran population. The ACS estimated 11.6 percent of the community has served in the military compared to 7.3 percent nationally.
Here locally, capturing an accurate count of active-duty military families has been a oft-discussed topic, particularly with an eye on budgeting shortfalls at the county and state levels. Military service members are counted by the American Community Survey using the concept of “current residence,” which is defined as everyone living at the sampled housing unit for more than two months. The same method was used for the decennial count in 2020, with deployed service members counted as residents of the bases or ports they were temporarily assigned away from.
2020 Census Update
The U.S. Census Bureau announced Wednesday it would miss the Dec. 31 target date to deliver a count of each state’s total population, also known as apportionment. This is the first time the agency will miss the deadline since it was implemented more than four decades ago by Congress.
“Data collection is just one part of producing a complete and accurate 2020 Census. As issues that could affect the accuracy of the data are detected, they are corrected,” the agency reported. “This important process, which has been a part of every decennial census, is critical to produce data that can be used for apportioning seats in the House of Representatives among the states.”
The census count is also used to determine 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 count kicked off last January and was the first in the nation’s history when data was primarily collected online. However, problems quickly mounted when the initial postcard-style invitations were dropped in the mail around the same time the pandemic began. Many people overlooked or simply didn’t receive the notice, which resulted in additional mailings being sent out.
By mid-April, Moore County began lagging behind the state and national averages for self-response rates to the U.S. Census. Most of the area’s larger and more affluent communities, including Whispering Pines and Pinehurst, had stronger response rates compared to the county’s smaller and more rural communities. Census field staff began distributing questionnaires to rural non-responding addresses in May.
The pandemic brought on a host of problems for data collection and forced the Census Bureau to extend its deadline, which prompted a contentious back-and-forth legal challenge.
The “closeout” operation, as outlined in the 2020 Census Operational Plan, directed census takers to resolve cases where there had been numerous contacts and opportunities to self-respond with at least a population count.
By mid-October, at the end of the self-response and field data collection operations, the U.S. Census reported 99.98 percent of all housing units and addresses nationwide were accounted for in the 2020 decennial count.
“America stepped up and answered the call: shape your future by responding to the 2020 Census,” said Dr. Steven Dillingham, Director of the Census Bureau. “Generally, better data comes from self-response, but after a decade of global decline in census and survey participation along with the challenges presented to communities by COVID-19, we had not expected to exceed the 2010 self-response rate. That we did is a testament to the American people, our nearly 400,000 national and community partners, and very importantly our staff.”
Early data expected to be released from the 2020 count will include quality metrics, along with the apportionment count. These metrics will include information on self-response, the Nonresponse Followup (NRFU) process, and metrics on addresses that are resolved as occupied, vacant, or no longer accurate.
“The schedule for reporting this data is not static. Projected dates are fluid,” the agency reported this week. “We continue to process the data collected and plan to deliver a complete and accurate state population count for apportionment in early 2021, as close to the statutory deadline as possible.”