Everyone Counts

The 2020 Census ended on Oct. 15, 2020. Thank you to everyone who participated and advocated for a complete count. The year 2020 was wrought with unseen challenges but we rose to the occasion.  

Wake County ended with a self-response rate of 73.3% (exceeding our 2010 self-response rate of 71.8%), which was the second highest self-response rate in the state and 16th highest in the country out of counties with more than 1 million people.

While there are many things to celebrate about the results of the 2020 Census, there are areas of our county which self-responded at lower rates than 2010. You can see the self-response rates countywide here. The red areas are those with the lowest self-response rates. These low responding areas are in large part made up of historically undercounted communities. Looking forward to the 2030 Census and general civic involvement, the County is already working on a strategy to better engage these residents.   

Why is this important?

Every person counted brings more federal funding to our community each year for the next 10 years. That's money that will go to programs like the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Medicare Part B, highway planning and construction, the Federal Pell Grant Program and the National School Lunch Program, among others. Census results also highly impact political representation and new business growth.  

The 2030 Census will be our next opportunity to ensure everyone is counted.


Wake County Undercounted Populations 

Many communities have historically been undercounted in the census. That means the census data used to ensure fair political representation and provide funding that supports community services is skewed. 

Wake County is committed to reaching all residents to ensure their communities get adequate funding and representation. Everyone counts!

Undercounted Populations

  • Young children 
  • Highly mobile persons 
  • Persons who do not live in traditional housing 
  • Persons experiencing homelessness 
  • Non-English speakers 
  • Racial or ethnic minorities 
  • Undocumented immigrants 
  • Low income persons 
  • Persons who distrust the government 
  • LGBTQ community 
  • Persons with physical or mental illness 


Why are Communities Undercounted?

There are four main reasons why a population might be undercounted.  

  1. They might be hard to locate, like people who live off the grid, are very mobile or don’t wish to be found. 
  2. They might be hard to contact, like people who live in gated communities or are younger than five. 
  3. They might be hard to interview, meaning they might have low literacy or English is not their primary language. 
  4. They might be hard to persuade, meaning they are suspicious of the government or don’t see a benefit to participating in the Census. 


Identifying North Carolina's Undercounted Communities  

This map displays the geographic distribution of communities associated with being undercounted in the census. Type "Wake" into the search bar on the right to see information specific to Wake County. To see more details about a specific part of our county, you can click on a census tract area and more details will be given under the map.  You can also select the risk factor(s) you are most interested in to see where those historically undercounted communities are at.  

NC communities at risk of not being counted.