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With Announced Census Deadline Extension, Wilmington Could Improve Low Response Rate

Census takers will wear masks and have a valid ID badge when they visit your home.


After a federal judge ruled on Friday, October 2nd that the Census count will continue until October 31st, the Trump administration is expected to appeal. But as of now, WHQR reports Wilmington’s self-response rate still lags behind most major cities in the state.    

Infrastructure projects, emergency and healthcare services, schools, public transportation, and unemployment benefits -- these are all funded through Census data -- and there’s a lot at stake. 

North Carolina has a total response rate close to 98% -- but even this rate is considered one of the lowest in the country. And Marilyn Stephens, the Census Bureau’s Assistant Regional Manager, says that’s not good enough.  

“Well, we have to get to 100%. The Constitution outlines that we count all persons. This is a population and housing census, so we have to account for all 130 million households nationwide, so 99.99% doesn’t work.”  

And Wilmington only has a self-reported rate near 62% -- cities like Asheville, Raleigh, and Greensboro have higher completion rates.

Stephens says even if you’ve filled out your form, there’s still something you can do:

“Make a list of 10 people, call them up and say, ‘Have you completed the Census? This is so important to our community.’ We all must become a committee of one. We don’t get a do-over. We want everyone to understand it only takes less than 10-minutes to ensure your community has its fair share of resources over the next ten years, and the question is, will our numbers support our needs.” 

Census workers will continue to knock on doors of non-responders. Residents can also fill out a form by going to my2020census.gov or by calling 844-330-2020. 


Census Resources:

Cape Fear Counts 


Carolina Demography

Cape Fear Collective - Census 2020 Map

Why the Census is important in NC?

Census Timeline

Census Takers In Your Neighborhood