Camden County is leading the region with 57.5 percent of its residents self-responding to the U.S. Census.
In comparison, 54.1 percent of Glynn County residents have completed the census form, with 40.5 percent of those done online. Camden’s internet turnout was an even 50 percent.
Brantley County has had a 39.1 percent response (19 percent online) and McIntosh County has had 25.8 percent of its residents, with 19.6 percent online responses to the census.
While some people may not care whether they are counted, local and state government officials do. A study by George Washington University estimates local municipalities receive about $2,300 annually for every person counted. And that could cost a city like Brunswick millions in federal and state aid for everything from social services to road improvements.
In Camden County, Claire Feazel, the county engagement and strategic planning coordinator, said one goal is to ensure everyone is counted in homes in rural areas and those that have renters or roommates.
If only one person is counted in a house with four people, it will mean $69,000 less in local coffers over a decade. Add that by dozens or more households and it’s easy to see how much local governments can gain if they can encourage greater participation.
The new deadline to collect the census data is Oct. 31, Feazel said. Enumerators will begin a door-to-door campaign in August to gather the necessary information from those who have not responded.
“We have more time to get door-to-door enumerators,” she said.
Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey said he plans to discuss ways to improve the response to the census at an upcoming city commission meeting.
“COVID-19 happened at the wrong time,” he said. “It really affects us.”
One possibility is for library staff to assist anyone needing help to fill out the census form, which takes less than 10 minutes for the average person to complete.
Feazel said officials plan the same thing at Woodbine City Hall for people without an internet connection, tablet or cell phone. For those who haven’t registered, the toll-free number to respond to the census is 844-330-2020.