Jacksonville marking Census Day in the grips of COVID-19

ONSLOW COUNTY, NC (WITN) - Once every 10 years, April 1st marks Census Day, but this year there are added concerns for those counting residents.

The Census Bureau is reporting it would normally be ramping up to hire some 500-thousand census takers, but getting a complete count of the U.S. population has been delayed, due to the coronavirus.

There are concerns that the pandemic is at the front of everyone's minds, and therefore census counts may be low.

By filling out a census form, you become part of your area's headcount. That's the number governments look at when deciding funding needs, for improvements to roads and schools.

Onslow County leaders said an undercount in 2010 cost Onslow County more than $400 million in funding.

Cindy Edwards with Complete County Committee said, “I definitely think we're going to see a lower response rate initially because people simply just aren't paying attention to this because of the concern about the virus."

Now, with a pandemic at the forefront of people's minds, fears are looming of another undercount.

"Trying to stay safe, survival mode, take care of their families, and pay the bills, and to be honest, the census might get pushed on the back burner," said Jones County resident Titus Moore.

In Onslow County, census volunteers were going to be encouraging participation at places like libraries but, with social distancing and those places being closed, nearly all messaging will be done online.