The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) keeps counties across the state informed about important matters related to county government, and, on Friday, Oct. 16, the organization’s weekly newsletter pointed out something that could be very bad news for North Carolina and for Guilford County.

After a decision this week by the US Supreme Court, the US Census Bureau announced that it would end its census collection efforts on Thursday, October 15.  The bureau ended both field operations and the collection of self-reported census forms completed by individuals.

According to stats sent out by the NCACC, just before the time of stoppage, only 63.2 percent of North Carolina households had self-responded to the census. That puts North Carolina at number 36 out of 50 states and Washington, DC, in that regard, and it also puts North Carolina this year below the state’s self-response rates in 2010 and 2000.

That’s really bad news for Guilford County and the state’s other 99 counties because, not only do the census numbers determine the state’s representation in Washington, those numbers also – for a decade into the future – have a big impact on how many federal dollars the state, and its counties and cities, receive for various programs.

According to the NC Counts Coalition – an organization dedicated to seeing the state accurately represented in the 2020 census – the collected census data is used to allocate about $675 billion a year from federal programs. Also, North Carolina gets about $16 billion annually in federal funding from programs guided by the census stats.

The coalition also reports that a single missed person in the census count is roughly equivalent to “a forfeited $16,000 in funding for North Carolina over a 10-year period.”