10 Mar “You live here, you count here”
Photo Credit: Wild 2 Free
Onslow County officials anticipate that the first invitations to complete the 2020 United States Census questionnaire will begin to appear in residents’ mailboxes in mid-March. So, the Jacksonville-Onslow Complete Count Committee is strongly urging residents to complete the census for the sake of the area.
Getting this message out is so important to committee members that they conducted a rally in front of the Onslow County Courthouse Monday morning with the basic message, “You live here, you count here.”
Committee Chairman Don Herring made the following comments to JDNews.com Monday.
“We want to make sure everyone is counted in 2020 and we want to make sure Onslow County gets our fair share of the more than $675 billion that is shared by the federal government based on population counts. The way we do this is to make sure everyone is counted.”
Local leaders say that Onslow County was substantially under-counted in the 2010 Census. As a result, the county lost approximately $402 million in state and federal funds in the past 10 years.
Only 67.8% of Onslow County’s households responded to the 2010 Census on their own. The percentage of respondents in the city of Jacksonville was even a bit lower at 66.6%.
Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips said his city has been dealing with the consequences of being under-counted for the past 10 years. Those consequences were less funding for local transportation, community projects and efforts to help the city grow.
“What could have happened?” Phillips said. “What could have been?”
With this in mind, Phillips has decided to stir up a little friendly competition between cities to motivate completion of the 2020 Census. He has challenged Greenville Mayor P.J. Connelly to a contest between their two cities to get the highest response rate. Apparently, Greenville also had a very low response rate of 61.9% last time around. So, here’s the deal. If Greenville achieves the highest response rate, Phillips has to dress up as a pirate. However, if Jacksonville turns in the highest rate, Connelly has to dress up as a Marine.
Phillips said, “While this is fun, the Census is serious.”
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