By on 4.7.20 in Carolina Demographics, Census 2020

Census Day took place across the United States on Wednesday, April 1st. While it is not the deadline for filling out the Census – that’s currently August 14 – many states do see a bump in Census responses on April 1st – North Carolina included.

Of the fifty states and Washington, DC, North Carolina had the twelfth-highest ­bump in response rates due to Census Day. Gaining 3.2 percentage points from April 1st to April 2nd, North Carolina’s response rate grew from 35.2% to 38.4% of households. This rate still lagged the nation’s overall rate of 41.3% and placed North Carolina 39th overall on April 2nd.

The good news is that Census Day brought the largest single-day response rate in North Carolina (3.2%) seen since the Census Bureau began reporting self-response rates on March 20, 2020. However, responses on April 2nd fell to prior daily response levels.

graph showing a steady decline in daily census response rates in North Carolina through march 30th, 2020

Internet responses to the Census

Responding online remains the most popular response method to the Census. In fact, 91% of the Census Day response bump in North Carolina was due to people filling out their Census forms online. Overall, 86% of all responses since March 20th have taken place online.

Which counties saw increases on Census Day 2020?

In many cases, the counties that benefited most from Census Day were located within one of North Carolina’s metropolitan areas, including the Triangle, Charlotte and Triad. Many of them were also already among the counties with highest overall response rates since reporting began on March 20th.

Table: counties located within metro areas saw largest census day bump. Top ten counties: 1 orange, 2 union, 3 wake, 4 johnston, 5 camden, 6 gates, 7 franklin, 8 granville, 9 pitt, 10 cabarrus

Internet response has allowed many of these top-response counties to pull ahead of the state average. For these ten counties, 94% of the Census Day response, on average, was online.

Where do we go from here?

Census Day boosted North Carolina’s overall Census response but work still needs to be done. The state response rate in 2010 was 64.8%; North Carolina currently stands at 41.7% as of April 5th.

Want to see how your county is doing? Check out our Census Tracker – updated weekly – to see the latest state and county response rates. We will be updating this site until the end of May, when the Census Bureau is expected to begin non-response follow-up operations. At this point, households that have not self-responded to the Census will receive an enumerator to their home.