Posted by: Francis Koster Published: September 22, 2020

You Face A Wonderful Choice Today

I have bad news and good news.   The bad news is that if your household does not complete the Census by September 30, you can be fined $100.00.[1]  Why would you be fined?  Because money follows the numbers.  Populated areas get more.

if your household does not complete the Census it can cost Cabarrus County $5,100 per year every year for the next 10 years in lost federal dollars that would have funded schools, police and fire, health departments, food stamps, environmental protection, and almost 300 other community strengthening programs.  Your own family’s failure to take 10 minutes and answer a few questions would cost Cabarrus County taxpayers $51,000 between now and the next census in 2030.

We have a bad situation - as of September 17, 2020, out of 73,751 Cabarrus County households, 8,500 (1 in 9 of our neighbors) have not completed the questionnaire. [2]

Do the math – if each of those 8,500 households fails to complete the Census, at $5,100 per household, Cabarrus County would lose around forty-three million dollars in federal funding next year. Unless something is done to fix this, between now and when the next Census is done in 10 years, Cabarrus County will lose almost half a billion dollars in federal funding.

In the Census completion competition between all 50 states, North Carolina ranks fifth from the bottom, with a score of 88.5% households completing the form.[3]  West Virginia has 99.5%.[4]

Most people think that the Census is intended to gather information about citizens.   That is not true.  The Census Bureau already has the data – the job of the Census is to verify it.

The Census Bureau is legally entitled to vacuum up all sorts of data about you.  They are not collecting new data because they have huge databases (which they are forbidden to share for 72 years with any other branch of government)[5]  containing your date of birth, your race, your citizenship, your drivers’ license information, data furnished when you applied for unemployment or welfare, qualified for free school lunches, got a government backed mortgage, and applied for veterans’ benefits, or federal or state pensions.  (No information about citizenship status is gathered or stored). Your marriage and divorce information, local property tax information, and arrest records are already assembled, along with your hunting or fishing license – all the information that is freely available on the internet.[6] They also get data from the United States Postal Service (USPS); tribal, state, and local governments; satellite imagery; and third-party data providers. [7]

All the Census wants you to do is to verify that what they already have on record about you is accurate. If you moved after April 1, 2020, or a member of your household died, they identify the mismatch, and check with you to make sure they have the right data.

The deadline is September 30.  If we are going to capture that $51,000 per household in federal funding now at risk because 1 in 9 of our neighbors have not of filled out the forms, over the next 10 days we need to treat this like a flood, or huge fire, and everyone has to jump in to save our community the total of 432 million dollars that we risk losing between now and the next census. 

Rotary and Veterans Clubs should quickly send copies of this story to their entire membership. High Schools have to challenge each other to a competition to see how many students can get their parents to take the 10 minutes and complete the form.  It is not football, but it will bring in a lot more money! The Economic Development Council and Chamber of Commerce need to notify their members of what is at stake and ask them to grant employees 10 minutes to fill out the form online.  Each restaurant offering takes out should include a copy of this article in with the napkins.  Area Churches should notify their congregation of how increasing Census participation will increase the amount of food available for the poor, rental assistance, and so forth.

Many of our friends and neighbors are going to go through Covid-19 economic and health struggles for the next year or so.   One of the easiest ways you can support them without leaving your home is to make sure everyone you know has filled out the Census so we get that money.

Are you going to walk your talk about being proud to have chosen North Carolina as your home?  Or, instead, risk a $100.00 fine?  Your choice.

How to complete the Census

(Takes about 10 minutes, brings $45,000 to Cabarrus County)

  • Fill out the paper Census form if you received one
  • If you lost it, you can fill it out on-line at gov.
  • Or you can all 844-330-2020 and the operator will do it for you.

Authored by Francis Koster Ed. D.








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Francis P. Koster Ed.D.

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