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The Voice of the Black Community

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N.C. stands to lose billions from poor 2020 Census
 
Published Friday, November 17, 2017
by Staff Reports

RALEIGH – The results of the 2020 Decennial Census are likely to help guide the allocation of more than $16 billion in federal spending for North Carolina each year, according to a new study led by George Washington University professor Andrew Reamer.

The George Washington University project called “Counting for Dollars” contains a 50-state listing of funds directed annually to state and local governments by census data for health care, Head Start, roads and highway, school lunch programs, housing assistance, and a variety of other programs. A summary of the national findings calculated $589.7 billion in census-directed funding from 16 federal programs.

On the eve of congressional actions to fully fund planning for the 2020 count, representatives of a coalition of census stakeholders representing business, industry, civil rights, academia, and state and local government called on North Carolinians to demand the state is properly counted in 2020 by supporting full funding in the federal fiscal 2018 funding. A poor count will put as much as $170 billion in federal support to North Carolina over the next decade at risk, according to the Census Project coalition’s review of the study.

“The Census Bureau estimates that over 25,000 young children in North Carolina were not counted in the 2010 census, the eighth highest amount in the country. When young children are left out of the census, it means fewer resources for critical programs that promote healthy growth and development during early childhood like Head Start, the Child Care and Development Block Grant, and the Maternal and Child Health Service Block Grant,” said Adam Sotak, the public engagement director for NC Child.

Phil Sparks of the Census Project said North Carolina had much to lose from a poorly planned census count.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to an underfunded and at-risk census,” Stacey Carless, the director of the N.C. Counts Coalition, declared. “We must ensure that the 2020 Census is adequately funded to secure an accurate count, protect North Carolina’s political representation, ensure that North Carolina receives its fair share of federal funding, and to support economic growth and community planning throughout our state.”

While the study focused on 16 federal programs, just five accounted for most of the federal funding to North Carolina: Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Medicare Part B, HUD Section 8 Housing Vouchers, and Department of Transportation Highway Planning & Construction Funds.

“All North Carolinians benefit from a high-quality, complete and fair census,” Sparks added.

“The fair and equitable distribution of federal financial assistance to state and local governments and households will depend on the accuracy of the 2020 Census,” said Reamer, who conducted the study.

“An accurate Census count ensures our local programs receive the necessary federal, state and local dollars to build pathways of opportunity for all North Carolina children,” said Greg Borom, the advocacy director of Children First/Communities In Schools Buncombe County.

 

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