Georgetown leaders plead for people to take census amid low response rate

VIDEO: Georgetown leaders plead for residents to take census

GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCSC) - Leaders in Georgetown County are pleading for people who haven’t taken the 2020 Census yet, to do so.

Officials say, right now, they’re under a 50% response rate.

The census is more than just a population count. It has a huge impact on communities across the nation by determining several things including how federal dollars are distributed.

Georgetown leaders say, specifically, the census determines the share of funding that goes for all kinds of important projects like senior citizens programs, libraries, roads, bridges, and FEMA funding the county receives to help recover after disasters.

“When we’re talking about this funding, it’s not like if our numbers are lower we pay less to the federal government,” Jackie Broach, Georgetown County’s Public Information Officer, says. “We’re still paying that money, we’re just not getting it back. It’s going somewhere else so we definitely want the appropriate amount of that money to come to our community and be used for these important projects for our residents.”

Once the census is closed, those are the numbers that will be used to make a lot of decisions over the next decade.

As of last week, the state of South Carolina was averaging a 58% response rate. But Georgetown County, as a whole, was only reporting a 46.5% response rate:

Location Response Rate
City of Georgetown 49.2%
Town of Andrews 41.8%
Town of Pawleys Island 10.9%

Officials say those low percentage rates, especially for Pawleys Island, are a huge problem. Not only will this count help the federal government when deciding funding on things like disaster relief. It also will impact council seats with possible redistricting. And, if the numbers are low, that will have an impact on every level of representation and decisions by those leaders.

“These numbers also help employers determine where to locate, so if our numbers are not what they’re looking for they may choose to go somewhere else and bring jobs to another community instead of us,” Broach says.

Click here to take the 2020 census.

The hard deadline to fill out the Census is Sept. 30.

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