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Early Census Returns Hold Promise for North Carolina

Adam Rust's picture

Posted April 14, 2010

Early analyses of Census 2010 participation rates are promising for North Carolina.

You can go to the Census 2010 page to see how many of your neighbors have returned their forms. The return rate is very important, as budgets for the next ten years will be weighted by the results of this count. Right now, approximately 67 percent of households have already replied.

North Carolinians should be paying close attention to their results. As of April 14th, 69 percent of households in the state have sent their forms back in.  That is already higher than the 66 percent of households that replied in 2000.  The fact that North Carolina is trending slightly above the national average is good news.  Still, a higher rate of return would mean a lot for our state. North Carolina is one of the states on the edge of gaining an additional seat in Congress. In 2000, Utah mounted and then lost a challenge to wrest a Congressional seat from North Carolina.  This time, North Carolina is seen as competing with New Jersey. That is promising, as New Jersey is responding at just 67 percent to date. Some say that Texas could gain as many as four new seats. That promise looks to be endangered by their participation, though. Only 62 percent of households have responded.

There are some significant variations in regional response rates. The counties between Chatham (75 percent) and Buncombe are all recording rates above 70 percent. In Davie County, 75 percent of households have replied.  That is good news.  By contrast, the Sand Hills are lagging.  Only Moore County is above 70 percent. Robeson (61 percent), Hoke (63 percent),

Bladen (64 percent) and Scotland Counties (64 percent) are lagging. Wake (71 percent) is edging out Mecklenburg (67 percent).

My neighborhood is at 78 percent, but our neighbors at Duke University are at 16 percent.

National View

Many people are watching the results in New Orleans. After Katrina, it is hard to know how many people remain in the city. Estimates range from just over to 200,000 to as many as 500,000.  The initial results do not look good. In Orleans Parish, only 41 percent of households have responded at this point.