Preparation for census continues

by | March 1, 2019 5:00 am

Last Updated: February 26, 2019 at 2:47 pm

The U.S. Census Bureau has all the adjusted Colleton County addresses in hand as they prepare for the 2020 Census.
The county’s Tax Collector Larry Lightsey said in 2017, Colleton County Administrator Kevin Griffin asked Lightsey if he would be willing to participate in the 2020 Census Local Update of Census Address (LUCA) operation. Lightsey accepted the assignment and attended several workshops conducted by representatives of the Census Bureau’s Atlanta regional office that outlined what needed to be done.
When the training completed in February of last year, the Census Bureau provided Lightsey a list of addresses that needed to be updated if necessary and gave him 120 days to complete the task.
The list, he said, “contained close to every address in the county. The confidentially that the U.S. Census Bureau pledges in the collection of the data in the once every 10 years national head count is already in effect in the beginning stages, Lightsey explained.
Lightsey said he used county maps and other source materials to crosscheck the Census Bureau information. His work did not involve traveling to the areas in question.
In about 900 cases, Lightsey added, he had to go in and change the information. In some cases the changes amounted to correcting the spelling of the roadway.
He also needed to double-check the census tracts and blocks that the Census Bureau uses to divide up the country.
Lightsey said for now, that ends his work on 2020 Census planning.
That may change in the coming months when the task changes from having the correct addresses to working locally to ensure every household participates in the census.
The Census Bureau’s next step will to send representatives from its partnership department to the county to talk about the local effort to sway households to participate in the 2020 Census.
Lightsey suspects that will be when the Colleton County and Walterboro Complete Count Committees begin their planning.
A survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau sought to determine what percentage of the nation’s households are expected to participate in the count.
The survey predicted that two percent of the population will not participate in the count, another five percent are not likely to participate and 25 percent are somewhat likely.
Those groups found to be hard to obtain an accurate count from include racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, renters and residents who move often, homeless, young mobile adults and single-parent households.
The Complete County Committees will try to assist the federal government in bringing those percentages up.
Obtaining an accurate count is important to municipalities and counties for a variety of reasons.
It is a major factor in determining how federal funding is allocated; it is used to determine the boundaries of Congressional districts, as well as state house of representatives and state senate districts, and impacts education funding.
The 2010 Census set Colleton County’s population at 38,892. The Census Bureau’s July 1, 2017 population estimate projected that the county’s population had dropped to 37,611, a 3.3 percent decrease.
Walterboro, in the 2010 Census, had a population of 5,398. That count was then adjusted to 5,401. The July 1, 2017 population estimate placed the city’s population at 5,121, a decrease of 5.2 percent.

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