Mayor issues plea for residents to respond to Census
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Grady County’s response to the U.S. Census continues to be abysmal, and an examination of response rates through Monday, indicates much of Southwest Georgia is not faring as well as other sections of the state.
Fayette County boasts a response rate of 74.1 percent compared to Grady County at 48.5 percent through Monday. The top Southwest Georgia county is Lee County with a current response rate of 65.1 percent. Grady County is currently ranked at 96 of the 159 counties in response rate.
Residents of the City of Cairo are slightly behind the county residents’ response. Through Monday, Cairo’s response rate stood at 48.1 percent, which is 286 in the ranking of Georgia cities. The Georgia city with the highest response rate through Monday is the City of Berkeley Lake, which is located in Gwinnett County.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 85.9 percent of Berkeley Lake residents have responded. As of the 2010 census, Berkeley Lake had a population of only 1,574.
Only 41.6 percent of Whigham residents have responded to the census, putting it behind Cairo and other Southwest Georgia communities.
While local rates are bad, it could be worse. According to the Census Bureau, none of the residents of Aldora, Georgia, located in Lamar County have responded to the census as of Monday.
The response rate includes submissions by email or U.S. mail as well as telephone responses.
Nationwide, the response rate stands at 62.3 percent and in Georgia the statewide response rate is 58.1 percent.
Cairo Mayor Howard Thrower III, expressed concern this week and he is encouraging local residents to take time to fill out their census response form and submit it as soon as possible.
“We need our citizens completing the 2020 census. Some of the dollars for school meals for kids and the pre-school program are based on population numbers. Business franchises look at the numbers to determine best locations. The numbers also affect districting for city and county. So, please complete the census forms,” Mayor Thrower said.
For those who may need assistance or have questions about the census, Mayor Thrower says Roddenbery Memorial Library staffers will assist local residents in responding to the census.
The mayor says that door-to-door census tackers will soon be canvassing the community, but he encourages all residents not to wait to be contacted and to respond today.
“If we do not show our true numbers, we will lose state and federal revenues,” Mayor Thrower said.
Due to COVID-19, though, citizens have more time to submit their responses with the original deadline of July 31 being extended to Oct. 31.
Although paper questionnaires were mailed to each household and can be filled out and returned at no charge utilizing the U.S. Postal Service, citizens may also reply online at my2020census.gov, or over the phone at 1-844-330-2020.
The census provides vital information about communities. It determines how many representatives each state gets in Congress and is used to redraw district boundaries. The census statistics help communities plan for a variety of resident needs including new roads, schools and emergency services. Businesses use census data to determine where to open places to shop. Each year, the federal government distributes more than $675 billion to states and communities based on Census Bureau data.
Citizens who do not self-report will be contacted by census takers who will interview households in person, Aug. 11-Oct. 31.
In addition, census officials work with service providers at soup kitchens and shelters to help count the people they serve. Census workers count homeless people, finding them under bridges, in parks or in all-night businesses, and also count those who live in campgrounds, R.V. parks, marinas or hotels.
Once the census information has been collected and reviewed by experts, it is delivered to the President, usually by December, but due to the coronavirus, that deadline has been extended to April 30, 2021.