• 64°

Count me in

Polk County 2020 Census lower than state, national response

POLK COUNTY—Polk County residents are being urged to fill out the 2020 Census.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met last week and heard from county planner Cathy Ruth, who also heads a Census committee the county created.

Ruth said the national response is at 62.8 percent, compared to 59 percent in North Carolina and 53.7 percent for Polk County.

“We are behind in our response rate,” Ruth said.

The county was offered a grant from Dogwood Health to advertise with banners and put stickers on pizza boxes to encourage people to fill out the census. The county plans to post some signs around towns as well as place advertisements in local newspapers. The Tryon Theatre has also posted a message on its marquee. For every point increase Polk County has in the response, Dogwood Trust is giving the county $1,000 to be used for anything in the county.

“That’s a really big deal for doing nothing but people filling out the census,” Ruth said.

Commissioner Chair Myron Yoder said a lot of people look at the census as an intrusion on their privacy.

Ruth said it helps with state representation so numbers can go up there. She also said it helps with so many different resources for the county through government, food and human resources.

Yoder said people should really know those facts.

“It helps put money in the county,” Yoder said. “Don’t be afraid to fill out that paper.”

Ruth said so far, 30 percent of Polk County’s response has been online and the rest has been on paper. She said anyone who needs help can come to one of the county offices, or the library, which is equipped to help residents.

Ruth said census workers are knocking on doors, so anyone who does not want people coming to their house should fill out the census.

Everyone should have received a census through the mail to fill out on paper. Residents can also visit 2020census.gov.