“It shows that we have lost a tremendous number of people and it is really hard for me to believe that we have lost a third of our population.” – Dr Jim Sims, vice-president.
WADESBORO – The Anson County Council of Commissioners voted this month to start the process to challenge the 2020 census results due to their disbelief in how many people have apparently left the county in the past 10 years.
The census revealed that the population of Anson County fell from 26,948 to 22,055. Commissioner Lawrence Gatewood said the loss of 4,898 people or 18.2% of the population was the largest decline since 1790 This decline was much larger than expected.
“It shows that we have lost a considerable number of people and it is really hard for me to believe that we have lost [that much] of our people, ”said Vice President Dr. Jim Sims.
The census indicated that North Carolina had the sixth largest population gain in the country, making it the 9th largest state. But it also showed that North Carolina had the slowest growth rate since the Civil War. Only 32 counties are expected to see their total population decline, but 51 rural counties have.
The next steps are to start the investigation process. Disputes can be made between January 2022 and June 2023 by the highest elected official of the court or his representative. The challenges must be completed through the Count Question Resolution (CQR) process and there must be evidence based on a Boundary Challenge, Geocoding Challenge, or Coverage Challenge. The challenges can be difficult because of the Disclosure Avoidance System (DAS) which protects the privacy rights of individuals in the census. DAS inserts noise into the data results to prevent identification of responders. Other loss factors should also be taken into account, including misrepresentation of the numbers if fewer people have completed the census and deaths from covid-19.
The commissioners will keep the public informed as things move forward.