Most Warren County residents have yet to complete the 2020 Census as the local response rate stands at just over 36 percent as of last week.

Kathy Newton-Dunton, Census partnership specialist with the Atlanta Region, indicated that as of April 24, 36.3 percent of Warren County residents had completed the Census. That compares with 47.7 percent of North Carolinians and 51.8 percent for the country as a whole.

Warren County has shown a slow increase in its response rate over the last few weeks. According to Newton-Dunton, the response rate here was 30.4 percent as of April 3 and grew to 34.8 percent as of April 14.

The U.S. Census Bureau previously extended the self-response phase through Aug. 14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are several options for responding: by visiting the website 2020census.gov and clicking on Respond, by calling 844-330-2020 between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Eastern time, or by mail.

The 2020 Census asks the following: how many people live in one’s house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2020; if additional people are staying at the residence who were not included in the response to the first question; if the home is owned with a mortgage, rented or occupied without rent payment; specific information about each person living in the residence: name, sex, age and date of birth, whether the person is of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin, and race; if each person in the residence usually lives there and each person’s relationship to the one filling out the questionnaire. Respondents will be asked to provide their phone number, but the Census specifies that it will be used only for contact on official Census Bureau business.

The Census Bureau emphasizes that data collected on the Census, which is conducted every 10 years, will carry implications at the local, state and federal levels. The population count will determine how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives. Discussion during a February regional Census meeting in Warren County highlighted North Carolina’s continued goal of raising the number of its House representatives from 13 to 14.

Census estimates indicated that Warren County is expected to receive nearly $1,800 per person per year based upon this year’s Census data.

The Census Bureau notes that public response will influence how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated for such programs as Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, school lunches, highway construction, education, hospitals and fire departments.

It adds that 2020 data will also determine how federal funding will be used in programs geared toward teachers, special education, rural areas, wildlife, child abuse prevention, wildfire preparation, and housing assistance for senior citizens.

At the community level, Census data will show where new roads, schools, and clinics, and additional services for everyone from children to senior citizens are needed, the Census Bureau states.

Census workers will visit households that have not completed the 2020 questionnaire from May 28-Aug. 14.

For more information about the 2020 Census and how to respond, visit 2020census.gov.