By on 9.25.20 in Census 2020

A federal judge ruled that the Census count must be extended to October 31 and cannot end a month early. The order also extends the tallying process by four months, as originally requested by the Bureau in April. While an appeal is expected, as of now, the 2020 Census self-response deadline is October 31, 2020, not September 30.

This is good news for North Carolina, because we have significant work to do to ensure a complete and accurate count in the 2020 Census. As reported on September 24th:

  • 62.5% of North Carolina households have self-responded to the Census, putting us 37th out of all 50 states and DC. This response rate is 3.8 percentage points below the national rate of 66.3%.
  • 31.5% of North Carolina households have been counted through Nonresponse Followup.

In total, 94% of North Carolina households have been counted in the 2020 Census, the 45th lowest total enumeration rate out of the 50 states and DC.

What is at risk?

Current response rates put North Carolina at risk of an undercount. Communities most at risk of not being fully represented in the 2020 Census include children under age 5, communities of color, and rural communities, as well as our military communities and college towns.

Undercount risks NC fair share of federal funds

Six percent of North Carolina households—an estimated 592,492 people—have not yet responded to the Census, risking more than $2.5 billion in annual federal funding to NC.

What can you do?

  1. Make sure you are counted
    Our most accurate Census data comes from self-response. Do not wait for the knock: respond TODAY at or 844-330-2020.
  2. Write your representatives to support extending the counting and tallying deadlines.
    A complete and accurate Census will only be possible if the Census is not rushed and the Bureau has enough time to tally and clean the data. To address this challenge, Congress must extend the statutory reporting deadlines (Title 13, U.S.C.) for apportionment and redistricting data by four months each, as was first requested in April by the Census Bureau’s most expert staff, when faced with an unprecedented disruption from COVID-19. Bills are currently under consideration in both the House and Senate.

Take Action with NC Counts

DEADLINE: 9/29 at 1000. NC organizations and businesses can sign the letter asking Senator Burr and Senator Tills to Cosponsor the 2020 Census Deadline Extension Act (S.4571) at

Note: We used recent FY17 estimates from the George Washington University of Public Policy and the 2017 population estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau to estimate the per person value of census-derived funding. In North Carolina, this was $4,263 per person for FY17.

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