As the U.S. Census Bureau continues its effort to count every person living in the country for the 2020 Census, self-response rates throughout rural Tennessee are well below the national response rate. Jackson County is faring better than some, with a 54.7% of households responding as of July 29, however that leaves a lot of residents uncounted. Macon, Smith, and Overton counties are responding roughly the same as Jackson County, while Clay County is struggling with just 41.7% of homes counted and Putnam County is exceeding the state response rate with 66% response.
The impact of undercounting residents will affect the community for the next decade. More than $675 billion in federal funds – trillions of dollars over the next decade – will be attached to population counts. Communities that are undercounted risk missing out on federal funding for an array of housing, transportation, health care, education, social services, and other programs.
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