Lowcountry Headlines

Lowcountry Headlines


Tri-county residents have extra days to complete census after lack of reply

Photo: Live 5 News

By Danielle Seat | September 30, 2020 at 7:19 AM EDT - Updated September 30 at 7:30 AM

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Officials with the 2020 Census say South Carolina has one of the lowest response rates in the county.

The deadline for the census was originally Wednesday, but it has now been extended to Monday.

The census bureau says for the next 10 years millions of dollars in federal funding for local governments will be based on this census. With an extra few days to complete it, local governments are urging the more than 30% of residents who haven’t responded, to take a few minutes and do so.

“From the Sheriff’s Office, to EMS, finance and administration, all the way to across the board, from public works to transportation infostructure,” Dorchester County Chief Financial Officer Daniel Prentice, said of the federal funding. “So I wouldn’t say that it’s going to impact one project over another project, but it certainly does limit our ability to fund services that are demanded based on our population.”

The U.S.Census Bureau says Charleston County currently has the lowest response rate in the Tri-County area with 61.7%, followed by Berkeley County at 66.6% and Dorchester County at 69%.

Although these numbers are about 10% lower than 75% self-response rate of the most recent 2010 Census, government officials say they are going to take advantage of these extra few days, knocking on doors to get the information they need.

Assistant Regional Census Manager of the Atlanta Region Marilyn Stephens says they are doing their best to collect the most accurate numbers, even if they have to ask neighbors about the demographics of the near-by household. She says they cannot always know how many school-aged children are in each household and this will make a difference for the school districts in years to come.

“All of the programs that are very important to them, in those funding formulas, what weighs heaviest are the population statistics,” Stephens said. “So, they really want the numbers to reflect the needs and the demographics.”

The census bureau says people can still fill out the 2020 Census online at their website or by phone: 844-330-2020.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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