The push to get everyone counted in the Census 2020 got somewhat lost in the pandemic shutdown, but the importance of it has not.
Census Day was supposed to be April 1, but by then we were all sheltering at home, trying to safe from COVID-19. Figuring out how to do simple things like grocery shopping and getting haircuts took the place of worrying about a nationwide census.
However, as we emerge from the pandemic, we are going to want to have our information straight for the decade to come.
Capitol Beat News Service reported that as of last week, roughly 81% of households in Georgia had completed the 2020 census either on their own initiative or after census takers visited them in a door-to-door canvassing effort that has been complicated by social distancing. That still leaves us in the bottom five of the country in responses.
The deadline for wrapping up the census count is currently set for Sept. 30.
“We are not doing well,” Michele NeSmith, research and policy development director for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, who has been working on census outreach for the past several months, told Capitol Beat. “Overall, we still have a lot of work to do.”
Roughly $1.5 trillion will be available for states to tap into depending on the size of their census-determined populations, according to research from The George Washington University. The larger the population, the larger the share.
The U.S. Census Bureau initially moved the deadline to Oct. 31, but they decided later to shorten it back to the end of this month. There are lawsuits in play to move it back, but the backlog in the courts due to COVID-19 could make a timely ruling difficult.
Ultimately, it’s vital to our communities that we get on the ball with this thing. It takes five minutes to do, it’s available online and most of us have a smart phone in our pockets that can help us facilitate this in 2020.
There is a lot of money at stake here for our local communities, even though this seems like a national or federal endeavor. Habersham County’s self response rate was 61% as of Tuesday, which would be a failing grade in school.
The census matters here, and we must do our best to get as close to 100% as we can for the future of our home, beautiful Habersham County.