Fulton County has kicked off its count down to the 2020 Census.
Robb Pitts, chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, wants to ensure there isn’t an undercount of residents next year.
“For two specific reasons,” Pitts said. “Additional funds coming into the country for programs. And number two, the possibility of an additional congressional seat.”
For the 2000 and 2010 Census, 70% of households in Fulton mailed back their forms. In Georgia, participation rates were 72% for the last two counts. The Census Bureau said it follows up with households in person that don’t mail back forms.
The census determines money for schools, roads and hospitals as well as funding for federal programs such as student loans, SNAP and rural education. It also determines political representation. Georgia gained one congressional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2010 count, totaling 14.
A study by The George Washington University found that Georgia received more than $23 billion for dozens of federal programs in fiscal year 2016.
According to the Center for Urban Research, approximately 35% of Fulton County lives in hard-to-count areas.
Pitts said the county has put aside approximately $250,000 for census outreach. He said that amount is adequate.
“Because the city of Atlanta is setting aside some funds, and that’s the largest population in the county,” he said.
Newly elected commissioner Joe Carn, who represents District 6, said the census is about money for local governments.
“All of our corporations, all of our school systems all of our public works departments, utilities providers. They use Census data to set the framework for our cities, our counties,” he said.
He’d like to see the county put up more money.
“I’m proposing a dollar per person to adequately fund the processes and infrastructure we need to count all of our people in Fulton County,” he said.
Approximately one million people live in Fulton County, according to census data estimates. Nearly 500,000 people live in Atlanta. Atlanta sits in Fulton and Dekalb Counties.
Census day is April 1, 2020. By then, households will receive an invitation to participate in the count.