Carteret County’s response rate in the bottom 10 counties in the state

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CAPE CARTERET, N.C. (WNCT) – The deadline for the 2020 census is about one week away. Responses in North Carolina are well below many other states.

Counties like Pamlico, Duplin, and Carteret are at less than a 48-percent response rate.

Carteret County’s response rate puts it in the bottom ten counties in the state. Only 44 percent of households in the county have been counted in the 2020 census.

Newport’s Mayor Dennis Barber says the 56 percent not responding could make or break a business decision on whether to move here.

“We’d like another restaurant here or McDonald’s or Burger King that we’ve missed out on so many years,” said Barber.

He says a low response rate in 2020 also kept the town from getting more federal funding.

“So I believe if we would’ve had a higher number, back in 2010, we’d have the funding to put more sidewalks in,” said Barber.

Officials in Cedar Point put the situation into perspective. Recently, Carteret County distributed federal CARES Act funds to local communities. The money Cedar Point received was based on the population count.

“So the more people we would’ve had here in Cedar Point the larger our share of the pie would’ve been. That’s just a small example when you start talking about education dollars, those things of that nature they add up,” said David Rief, Cedar Point’s town administrator.

So far, his town has a 46 percent response rate, below the state’s average. He attributes that to second homeowners.

Rief said, “So if they live somewhere else full time they may not be filling one out here.”

Cape Carteret’s Mayor Will Baker says by not completing the census, your tax money is going to other communities, where more people are filling out the forms.

“That’s how you got to look at it, is getting you money back and you’re not going to get it back if you don’t fill out the census,” said Baker. That means less federal money for roads and schools and less representation in congress.

“The census determines how many seats you have when it comes to the congress and senate,” said Baker.

To respond by phone, you can call 844-330-2020.

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