Columbia aldermen support 2020 Census

Published 5:59 am Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Columbia Board of Aldermen resolved on Nov. 4 to disseminate 2020 Census Bureau information, encourage residents to participate in activities aimed at increasing participation in the census, support census takers to complete an accurate count and strive to achieve a complete and accurate enumeration of all persons within the town limits.

Adoption of the resolution, introduced by alderman Hal Fleming, followed a presentation by Jimmy Fleming of Columbia, local Census Bureau recruiter.

Recruiter Fleming reviewed the history of the census and its current purposes of collecting social, demographic and economic data on every inhabitant of the United States.

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The 24th Census – there’s been one every 10 years since 1790 – will, for the first time, collect data online and by telephone, Fleming said.

“It’s easy, safe, and important,” he explained. “Easy, because it’s just 10 questions that you can answer in 10 minutes. Safe, because nobody, not even a judge or government agency, can access your personal data. And important, because $375 billion in federal money distributed over the next 10 years will be parceled out to towns, counties and states based on census numbers.”

Fleming said the loss to a town or county government will be $2,000 for each person who is not counted, “and that will have a much bigger impact on Tyrrell than Mecklenburg.”

“It’s our civic duty to participate,” he added.

Fleming is recruiting census takers (“enumerators”) now. They will personally visit homes only if there has been no electronic response from them. He expects about 15 jobs to be filled in Tyrrell County.

Persons interested in applying for enumerator positions should visit Fleming also said he may hold a job fair later at the public library in Columbia.

The first phase of the census will count individuals in institutions, including prisons, Fleming stated. State officials have said the Tyrrell Prison Work Farm, established to house up to 650 offenders, is to be closed and its inmates moved elsewhere, but no closure date has been announced. The census taking is scheduled for April 2020.