The Complete County Committee (CCC) of Athens-Clarke County is urging the county residents who have not yet responded to the 2020 Census to do so by the new October 31, 2020 deadline. As of September 29, Athens-Clarke County’s Census self-response rate (60.5%) lags state (62.2%) and national completion rates (66.5%), putting the county at risk of losing critical funding and political influence.
“Today, more than 120,000 people call Athens their home. By raising their children in our neighborhoods, supporting local businesses, and lending their talents to those most in need, Athenians continuously demonstrate their commitment to making Athens the best it can be,” according to Tim Johnson and Alejandra Calva, co-chairs of the Athens-Clarke Complete Count Committee. “Responding to the Census takes less than 10 minutes every 10 years, and our collective responses truly have the power to help shape our community’s future prosperity, health, wellbeing and political voice.”
For each additional Athenian who responds to the 2020 Census, the county stands to receive approximately $32,000 more in federal funding over the next 10 years to help support local schools, healthcare, public transportation, and other critical infrastructure. Local organizations – from low-cost health clinics to after-school tutoring programs – will also use updated Census data to help secure financial support they need, while business owners will use it to adjust their economic investment in the county. Just as impactful, population data collected during the Census will help redefine Georgia’s legislative and congressional districts for future elections.
It takes less than 10 minutes to complete the Census online (www.my2020census.gov), by phone (844-330-2020), or by completing a paper survey mailed to select households. In mid-August, trained Census enumerators began door-to-door outreach to households that have not yet completed the survey.
In late 2019, Mayor Kelly Girtz appointed Tim Johnson of Family Connection-Communities in Schools and Alejandra Calva of Lazos Hispanos as co-chairs of the Complete Count Committee (CCC). Census participation among traditionally “hard to count” populations, including young children, families living in poverty, individuals experiencing homelessness, immigrants, and college students. All committee members were selected based on their personal or institutional ability to connect with least one of these community groups, and dedication to the belief that every Athenian counts. Staff members of the Planning Department of the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (ACCGov) have also played a key role in planning.
In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Complete Count Committee had to adjust its spring outreach plans, which had included outreach through the local schools, at Athens’ large-scale annual events and in-person religious services. Still, its efforts engaging influential community members and faith-based leaders, debunking myths at small-scale events and during media interviews, and working closely with The University of Georgia to ensure all students are counted, has helped lead to an overall participation rate of over 60% across the county to date.
For more information, visit www.accgov.com/census.