Governor signs executive order for 2020 census count

Published 8:00 am Friday, October 26, 2018

Gov. Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 79 on Monday to establish the North Carolina Complete Count Commission, and named members to the commission to help achieve the most accurate and complete count of North Carolina’s residents in the upcoming decennial census in 2020, his office’s representatives said.

“The census count impacts every North Carolinian because it will shape critical decisions for our state from the number of people who represent us in Congress, to the amount of federal funds for education, health care and infrastructure, to the data-driven decisions government, businesses and nonprofits make,” Cooper said. “I appreciate these commission members stepping up to work with community leaders and partners across the state to encourage a full and fair count of all our residents — from our biggest cities to our smallest, rural communities. The upcoming census is a huge opportunity for our state and we want to make sure everyone in North Carolina counts.”

Established by the United States Constitution in 1790 and reoccurring every 10 years, the census will determine how the federal government distributes $400 billion in funding, including an estimated $16 billion for critical community services, housing, economic development and other needs and services in North Carolina. The census also determines the state’s number of congressional districts and representatives; North Carolina received an additional congressional seat following the 2000 Census by a margin of fewer than 1,000 residents and is predicted to gain another seat after the 2020 Census.

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“It’s vital that North Carolina’s data snapshot includes all residents so we don’t miss out on billions of dollars in federal funding for much-needed programs and provide accurate information to guide decisions by the public and private sectors,” said North Carolina Department of Administration Secretary and Commission Chair Machelle Sanders. “All communities in North Carolina deserve to be counted and we want to make sure they will be.”

The commission will coordinate North Carolina’s involvement with the census, helping the U.S. Census Bureau to recruit North Carolinians to be census workers, educate the public about the importance of the census, develop partnerships with public and private sectors to achieve an accurate count, and create a strategy to reach historically hard-to-count populations, including young children, low-income individuals, military personnel, non-native English speakers, minorities and rural residents, representatives said.

“More than 100 federal programs use data collected during census counts as part of their formulas to distribute billions of dollars in federal funding to the states,” said N.C. Census Liaison Bob Coats. “Those are important programs for many North Carolinians and include Medicaid, Medicare Part B, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Highway Planning and Construction, Title 1 Grants to Local Education Agencies and more.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people will have multiple ways to respond to the upcoming decennial census in more than 13 languages. North Carolina residents will have the opportunity to be counted online using personal computers or mobile devices, by telephone through questionnaire assistance centers or by using the traditional paper-response option. 

More information can be found at North Carolina’s U.S. Census website,

– Submitted article