On National Census Day, which was April 1, there was no better time to remind households that responding to the 2020 Census is convenient, confidential and critical.

Households can self-respond to the census by mail, phone (1-844-330-2020) or online (www.my2020Census.gov). Census information will not be shared with anyone, and it is essential that everyone is counted because the census is critical to the economic and general well-being of North Carolina residents.

The census directly affects the allocation of $23.8 billion annually in federal resources to our state. Additionally, it provides key decision-makers with the information they need to ensure that government resources are directed fairly and strategically to the state’s communities.

Also, the census ensures that communities are appropriately represented in the state House of Representatives and in Congress. With an accurate 2020 Census count, North Carolina is projected to gain a seat in the House, increasing its representation from 13 to 14 members.

According to updated data released Monday by the U.S. Census Bureau, Wilkes ranks 67th out of North Carolina’s 100 counties in level of response to the census so far. That’s an improvement over last week, when Wilkes was 82nd.

As of Monday, 26.9% of households in Wilkes and 30.0% of households statewide had filled out the census questionnaire. That gap of 3.1% between Wilkes and the state was slightly larger than the difference of 2.8% last week.

North Carolina’s 30.0% response ranks 39th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia for census response so far. The state moved up two spots from last week, when it was ranked 41st, but lags the national response rate by 3.1%, a larger gap than last week (2.6%). The national average is 33.1% of households.

In Wilkes, 20.4% of households have responded to the census online and 6.5% have responded via phone or mail, according to the data released Monday. Among all households in North Carolina, 25.3% have responded online and 4.7% have responded via phone or mail.

As of Monday, North Carolina’s top-five counties in census response so far were Orange (36.8%), Union (35.9%), Wake (35.6%), Chatham (35.3%) and Alexander (33.5%). Last week, Alexander was in second place behind Caswell.

The bottom five counties in the state were Swain (14.5%), Jackson (13.1%), Dare (12.8%), Avery (11.4%) and Graham (11.1%). Last week, Avery was fourth from the bottom and Watauga was fifth.

Among the 14 census tracts in Wilkes, those with the best response rates as of Monday were 9601 (Ronda and western Elkin, 37.9%); 9606 (North Wilkesboro, 31.9%), 9607 (North Wilkesboro/Cricket, 32.0%); 9608.2 (western Wilkesboro along the U.S. 421 corridor; 27.6%) and 9612 (southeastern Wilkes, 26.5%).

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