The 2020 Census might be the most important thing you do this year.
That’s a tall order with all that is going on, but hear us out. The census allocates $1.5 trillion in federal tax dollars for everything from schools and housing to health programs and roads. North Carolina receives $16 billion from federal funding every year, according to Cape Fear Counts. That funding is based on census data. So, if you do the math (and Cape Fear Counts did), every missed person costs the state about $16,000.
“Billions in federal dollars flow to state governments and to the local level,” Michael C. Cook Sr., a spokesperson for the US Census Bureau, told Vox. “It’s about power and money. It shapes the future.”
It’s not just funding.
The census also shapes electoral maps, determines Electoral College votes, and establishes legislative district lines. Being counted by the census is on par with voting. It’s part of your voice as a citizen. But more than 4 million people could be undercounted in the 2020 census, according to The Urban Institute.
“Data has shown that black communities are always undercounted, and we see this happening yet again,” Community Organizer Antionette Saddler, with the California Black Census & Redistricting Hub told Vox.
Not being counted or skipping the 2020 Census only continues the historic trend of power moving away from those with the most to lose. For the past week, citizens have been in the streets protesting the systemic racism and oppression that took George Floyd’s life. That trend will continue if every individual doesn’t stand up and be counted.

Take a minute and make sure you fill out the census.

Make sure your neighbor does too.

Let’s work together to make a better nation because now more than ever we need to make sure we count everyone part of this American experiment because everyone counts.
Our team has been exploring data on access to technology by educational attainment level. We found a clear relationship between the two metrics:

-It appears that there is a positive correlation between access to technology and education level.

-More than 80% of the people with a high school degree or higher have access to the internet while it is less common (only 55%) among people who do not have a high school degree.

-There is also a visible downward trend with the 'no computer' category meaning people with higher educational levels have a higher chance of owning an electronic device (with or without access to the internet).
This relationship piqued our interest, so we took a look at the relationship between census response and internet access.

-Coastal tracts (with high seasonal and occasional-use housing) have much lower census response rates than inland tracts (mean of 28% vs 54%, respectively). Further, internet access does not appear to have any relationship within those tracts.

-For inland areas, however, there is a clear, though gradual, positive correlation between internet access and census response rate. This relationship is flat until an inflection point at 75% internet access, at which census response starts to increase.

-Several Onslow tracts are responding to the census at a lower rate than their internet access peers, with an interesting downward turn at around 95% internet access.
There are some clear gaps in census response in the Cape Fear region, notably within coastal tracts and tracts with low access to technology. Additional resources and attention is needed in those areas to make sure everyone is counted. For more information on the census, check out Visit to fill out the census today!

To learn more about the Cape Fear Collective’s data and analytics work, click here. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions on data sets or analysis send us an email at or look us up on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


UNCW’s Dr. Rachel Carroll, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, and Dr. Mark Lammers, professor and director of UNCW’s Data Science Program, have developed two tools that track COVID-19 cases in the Cape Fear region.
Carroll created a spatial-temporal tool that maps COVID-19 in the United States, North Carolina, and the Cape Fear Region. Lammers developed a visualization tool that tracks COVID-19 cases by county in North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina.
Both tools update daily using data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking with Maddie, an African-American woman living with her family in New Hanover County, about her life. It’s a rare glimpse into the resilience and entrepreneurship in our community because Maddie finds a way to overcome obstacles from economics to systemic racism and inequity. Before George Floyd’s death, she talked about the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. The episode is called “I Need You To Come Home To Me.” Take a listen and then spend some time listening to more of the Maddie Speaks episodes because empathy is our best tool for understanding and we can only get there by walking in someone else’s shoes.
Cape Fear Collective and the Wilmington Chamber partnered with RTI International to bring a comprehensive skills analysis to our six-county region. Only a couple weeks left to have your organization included. The data will be used to inform economic recovery efforts in our region. Take 10-minutes today to shape tomorrow's workforce. Click here to complete the survey.
SHARE Cape Fear provides an online portal for nonprofit organizations, including faith-based groups and churches with 501(c)3 status, to build a profile, set up a wish list, and call for volunteers. Neighbors to the site are able to connect with those organizations and sign up to help either through monetary or goods donation or volunteering. Registration for SHARE Cape Fear is free. For more information, visit
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