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Cobb to spend $58K for Hard-to-Count Census areas

Cobb officials hope to count every Cobb resident for the 2020 U.S. Census to receive more federal funding for various projects. (Courtesy of Cobb County)
Cobb officials hope to count every Cobb resident for the 2020 U.S. Census to receive more federal funding for various projects. (Courtesy of Cobb County)

Cobb County’s 2020 Census Complete Count Committee will receive $58,720 to buy advertising and promotional materials to encourage Census participation in Hard-to-Count neighborhoods.

Hard-to-Count (HTC) areas within Cobb are characterized by transient populations and people for whom English is not the primary language spoken.

This decision was made recently by the Cobb County Board of Commissioners.

In March, the United States Census Bureau will begin distributing questionnaires to every household in the nation to count the number of people who reside in the U.S.

Local governments play a vital role in this process by creating partnerships with the Census Bureau to assist with generating a count that is as accurate as possible, according to Cobb Community Development Director Jessica Guinn.

Census data is used for a variety of purposes – among them distribution of more than $675 billion annually in federal funding to state and local governments, drawing federal and state legislative districts, forecasting future transportation needs and determining areas eligible for housing assistance and rehabilitation loans.

In 2010, the response rate among Cobb residents was around 78 percent.

That meant the 22 percent, who did not submit a completed Census questionnaire, resulted in the loss of $250 million in federal funds that would have been apportioned to Cobb, Guinn said.

In November 2018, the Cobb commissioners authorized the formation of a Complete Count Committee to bring together community leaders to influence every Cobb resident to complete the 2020 Census questionnaire.

To date, Cobb staff members have used their existing operating budget to cover the design and production of promotional and materials regarding the Census.

Also, the Cobb Collaborative used funds from a $10,000 grant to produce promotional materials that were used at multiple events over the past several months and now are depleted.