AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Time’s up for the 2020 Census count. The Supreme Court ruled to end the nationwide count Thursday, a month earlier than originally planned. But people who have not been counted still have time to make sure they do their part in securing funds for the community.
Despite this ruling the message now coming from the U.S. Census Bureau remains the same. There is still time to be counted.
NewsChannel 6 spoke with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Assistant Regional Census Manager for the Atlanta Region, Marilyn Stephens. She told us, “The online, phone and mail options are still open to you.”
The early end to the 2020 census count comes after President Donald Trump’s administration requested to suspend a court order that would have allowed for counting up to the end of October. President Trump’s administration said allowing for the count to end now would give the bureau time to determine how many congressional seats each state receives. So, census workers remain in the fields through Thursday collecting data from households that still did not respond.
Stephens replied, “You still have time to ensure, that your community gets its fair share of funding for infrastructure, emergency management, emergency preparedness, and emergency recovery. Healthcare services such as funding for rural hospitals, community health centers.”
NewsChannel 6’s Renetta DuBose asked, “Can you talk about how you’ve been impacted with the slow response in the state, especially in our area?”
“Many of the rural communities did not receive their census materials until a little later because we hand deliver to any household that doesn’t get its mail to the household, but through a post office box,” Stephens said noting that delivery was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of the CSRA’s rural areas are what she’s talking about with some of them ranking below 50 percent. Jenkins County came in the lowest of them all at nearly 30 percent. Columbia County ranked third in the state with nearly 75 percent. McDuffie 61 and Richmond County, a little more than 60 percent. NewsChannel 6 spoke with Mayor Hardie Davis recently about how the city could lose up to $1 billion in federal funds due to low response.
“The message is simple. Ten minutes that translates into ten years of Augusta’s future,” Mayor Davis told us.
To be counted by Thursday you can visit here or call 1-844-330-2020. The paper form can be mailed, but it must be postmarked by October 15.