Photo: Alaina Chafin, Director of Planning, City of Nacogdoches is ready to discuss the 2020 Census Official Partner program with Nacogdoches County business owners. Call Chafin at 936-559-2572. (Photo by Dr. Amy Mehaffey)
Census 2020 count affects local economy for next decade
by Kelly Augustine, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce
Dare to imagine the economic development of Nacogdoches County during the next 10 years, and the factors needed for a business community’s advancement.
Imagining our future progress may be fun to do, but a hard fact we face is that an accurate U.S. Census count can significantly impact our economy. The numbers that come from the census can support a community’s economic advancement or contribute to the same community’s economic decline.
“Census responses provide data that can attract new businesses and the jobs that come with them,” Alaina Chafin, Director of Planning, City of Nacogdoches and Census 2020 coordinator explained. “Companies use this data to determine where to set up shop and expand, creating jobs and generating opportunities for Nacogdoches residents. Without accurate data, businesses cannot make the best decisions for growth, which could stifle our economy.”
With that in mind, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Claire Robbins is challenging employers to encourage employees and customers to complete and submit census forms.
“Our business leaders can reach groups of people, and business managers and owners carry influence in those groups,” Robbins said. “It makes sense that they would keep Census 2020 in front of the people they interact with on a daily basis, because an accurate count could benefit their businesses for years to come.”
Robbins recommends using the online submission method that she found to be “easy and quick!’
She also suggests that business leaders implement the following techniques outlined in the 2020 Census partners program:
More about the 2020 Census Official Partner program is available, and all businesses are invited to join. If interested, please contact Chafin at 936-559-2572.
“The census is a way to get back what you put in, and the residents of Nacogdoches put a lot into building this community,” Chafin said. “It’s simple, if people do not fill out the form, they are not counted. That results in resources and political power for our County’s communities getting assigned to other communities — places that already have more money, more resources and more representation.”
County Commissioner Sandy McCorvey is determined to do all possible to ensure an accurate count in Precinct 2, and he calls for all Nacogdoches town leaders to promote Census 2020 in their areas.
“The census is a team effort, and the greater the participation the more federal dollars will be allocated for Nacogdoches County,” McCorvey said. “We know that the more money that is available to Nacogdoches County, the more services and better quality of services our County can extend to all of us. Services like our Head Start program, grants that support teachers and special education, healthcare clinics, SNAP, Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, school lunch programs and many other things critical to our community.”
McCorvey has been surprised at the confusion he has encountered in conversations with Nacogdoches residents. He has reminded many that “unlike voting, everyone is required by federal law to complete the census. You do not need an ID to complete it, if you have a criminal record you can still complete it, it is not a tracking service, and all responses are highly confidential. It does not matter whether you are in the United States legally or not. You can complete the census without worry.”
More than $43 billion in federal funding is spent each year in Texas alone. However, Chafin reports that the data she receives shows the City’s self-response rate was at 48 percent compared to a 62 percent self-response rate in 2010.
“An undercount of Texas’ population by even one-percent could result in a $300 million loss in federal funding, or $1,161 per person missed,” she said. “This loss in funding could affect a range of important programs that rely on census data, and provide support to Nacogdoches. That loss would put significant additional burdens on already tight state and local budgets.”
More about Census 2020 will be presented at the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce virtual Eggs & Issues meeting “How Census 2020 Adds Up for Nacogdoches County” sponsored by Harry’s Building Materials, Inc. The virtual meeting begins at 8 a.m., Friday, May 22. All Chamber and community members are invited to join, free of charge. Event details are available at www.Nacogdoches.org or call 936-560-5533. Speakers include: Deep East Texas Council of Governments Lonnie Hunt, Executive Director; Vic Waller, Regional Coordinator; Demedia Flanagan, Nacogdoches County Coordinator; and Point A Media Team Members Michele Peck and Angela Wiederhold.
“We all want the best for our neighbors, our businesses, our families and children,” Robbins said. “The Nacogdoches population is diverse, and we have strong business leaders who can reach all of the diverse areas. I ask that they first, complete and submit the census form, then take the responsibility of spurring others on to do the same.”
Kelly Augustine is Executive Vice President, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Census 2020
The 2020 Census asks a few simple questions about you and everyone who was living with you on April 1, 2020. It is not too late to complete your 2020 Census.
Complete your form online (https://my2020census.gov), by phone (1-844-330-2020) or by mail.