POWHATAN – Powhatan residents are making the county shine with a 43.4 percent self-response rate to the U.S. Census that is well ahead of Virginia figures.

As of Monday, March 30, Powhatan’s response rate was at 43.4 percent of households that responded to the census online, by mail, or by phone, according to the national census website. The Virginia self-response rate at the same time was 37 percent.

The county’s final response rate during the last census in 2010 was 78.3 percent.

Carla Neidigh, the county’s point of contact for the Powhatan Complete Count Committee, noted that the Powhatan’s response rate is slightly ahead of most of its neighbors. Powhatan is ahead of Goochland (38.8 percent); Cumberland (36 percent); Amelia (30.4 percent); Chesterfield (39.3 percent), and Henrico (39 percent) as of Monday.

Neidigh said her goal is for Powhatan residents to show their pride by having the highest response rate in Central Virginia. As of Monday, Powhatan was tied with Loudon County for the fourth highest response rate in the state, she said.

“From the data that the United States Census Bureau is providing, I am really proud of how we are doing. We are above all of our neighbors and we are in competition with incredibly well funded counties that have devoted a lot of resources to the census awareness campaigns,” she said. “So on a shoestring budget, I would say it is going really well. I attribute all of that to the people of Powhatan; I don’t attribute it to our campaign. I think Powhatan just has really responsible, civic-minded citizens.”

Neidigh continued to emphasize the importance of counting every citizen. The federal government allocates resources based on population, and residents want to be sure that Powhatan will receive its fair share of funding.

Powhatan’s high rate of response to the 2020 Census speaks well to the community’s sense of civic obligation, said David Williams, chair of the board of supervisors. He encouraged every resident to respond to the census and to count every person living in their home.

“The board of supervisors is grateful to our citizens for doing their civic duty assuring that Powhatan receives critical federal funding that benefits everyone,” he said.

The census provides an interactive map of the response data at http://www.2020census.gov/response-rates. Visitors can enter the state then the county they want to view in the boxes on the right, or hover over various states to see their response rates.

Neidigh also talked about the importance of replying from the safety of home by internet or by phone. Census enumerators’ (those that go door to door) training is being pushed back due to COVID-19 and there may be fewer workers available to go door to door. Replying by internet or phone will reduce the need for these workers, save tax dollars in this time of financial crisis, and reduce person-to-person interactions at front doors, which will be healthier for everyone.

Many of the dates surrounding the census have been delayed in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, but the apportionment counts are still scheduled to be delivered to the president by Dec. 31, 2020.

Locally, the Powhatan County Board of Supervisors passed a proclamation making April 1 Census Day in the county.

Laura McFarland may be reached at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.

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