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Be counted

Filling out April 1 U.S. Census still ongoing

POLK COUNTY—Despite the Coronavirus and people sheltering in place, the 2020 U.S. Census is moving forward.

People still have the opportunity to complete the census, either online at my2020Census.gov, by calling toll-free 1-800-923-8282 or by mailing in a paper questionnaire.

This year’s census takes less than 10 minutes and is only a few questions about residency as of April 1, 2020.

County officials said this week that North Carolina is nearly halfway through completely the census. Polk County formed a committee last year and is hoping for 100 percent participation from county residents.

Data collected from the U.S. Census helps determine representation for the state and the amount of funding invested in North Carolina communities, including Polk County. The census also helps determine how more than $16 billion in federal funding gets distributed each year, according to county officials.

Census data helps determine the number of representatives in Congress for North Carolina; helps allocate federal funding in North Carolina; helps establish the boundaries for voting and school districts and provides information needed to improve schools, roads, health care, emergency response and other services.

The census was established by the U.S. Constitution with the U.S. Census Board required to conduct a count of every person in the country every 10 years.

Federal law requires that all information be kept confidential, with information not able to be shared with law enforcement, courts, immigration or anyone for 72 years.

Polk County officials are asking residents who have completed the census to post in their windows at home or on social media with the pictured “I Counted NC” image in an attempt to motivate others to do the same. Residents can download the images, including a coloring sheet for children at polknc.info/complete-2020-census-form-online-phone-mail/.