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Work continues on the 2020 U.S. Census

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The 2020 Census count has been overshadowed in the news by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the importance of everyone being counted remains vital to the receipt of federal funds and congressional representation for the next 10 years.

Information from Joy Carr of Jones County’s Complete Count Committee states that the county’s response rate to date is 57 percent, but that rate varies depending on areas within the county.

Carr said, while some areas have response rates of over 50 percent, the southeastern portion of the county so far has a 37.2 percent response rate.

“For those who haven’t yet responded to the Census, there is still plenty of time,” she said.

The first Census invitations and reminders were mailed in March, and the timeline indicates that paper copies of the census forms were recently mailed to households that had not yet responded to those earlier invitations.

The 2020 Census count is required by the Constitution of the United States and is confidential under the law. Article I, Section II of the U.S. Constitution mandates a population count of the U.S. every 10 years.

The first Census took place in 1790 and has happened every year that ends in a zero since that date.

The federal government distributes $675 billion in funds each year. Those funds are distributed using Census numbers.

Jones County’s participation in the Census count in 2000 was 64 percent and it was 66 percent in 2010. That means the county missed out on 34 percent of its fair share of federal funds for the past 10 years.

Census forms were sent to every verified address in the United States in March of 2020. For the first time, those receiving the forms can respond online, by mail or by phone.

Only one person per household needs to respond, but every person living in the household as of April 1 needs to be included on the form.

In-person follow up visits will only be made to non-responding households.