Skip to content

Significance of McCreary County’s 2020 Census Can Not Be Underestimated

Census count
impacts everything from Medicaid and SNAP to loans for rural businesses. All McCreary
Countians must be counted.

By Eugenia Jones

The 2020 Decennial Census is rapidly approaching, and plans for this very important head count are already well underway.
Although the census will not begin until March 2020, the McCreary County Fiscal Court has already authorized a formal resolution encouraging participation in the 2020 census, and McCreary County Judge Executive Greene stresses the importance of census participation during his monthly updates at Fiscal Court meetings. Census jobs have been publicized on the Fiscal Court’s Facebook page resulting in an increase in applications being submitted electronically. Magistrate Bobby Strunk aired a radio ad on local radio station, WHAY, encouraging participation in the local census.
McCreary County Deputy Judge Executive Nathan Nevels emphasized the importance of participating in the coming census.
“We are all on board for this,” Nevels remarked. “The information will only help McCreary County, not hurt us. I can’t stress enough that all census information is kept completely confidential, no answer to a census question is attached to your name. If a census worker comes to your home, they aren’t prying in your business, they just want to know how many people live there and some other basic information about you and the folks living with you. If you don’t want them in your house, come down to the Public Library in Whitley City and complete the online census when it is available.”
McCreary County Public Library (MCPL) Director, Kay Morrow, is chairperson of McCreary County’s “Census Counts 2020 Census Committee.” She urged everyone to participate.
“Census data is used to make decisions about how and where the federal government will send funds for programs and services that communities rely on,” Morrow remarked. “The census data is also used for planning purposes. If large numbers of young children are not counted, local school districts may not be able to plan effectively for changing needs. The census count also helps libraries, local governments, and magistrate districts plan for expansion.”
According to Nevels, accurate census numbers are important to the county in receiving federal grants and in maintaining McCreary County’s 100% free school lunch program which is currently based on population and income data for our region.
According to Small Biz Survival, since the census rolls around every decade, an accurate count with data is important because it impacts communities for up to ten years. Data from the census is crucial to federal grants, economic development efforts, and redistricting of Congressional district and political boundaries. In addition, every person counted pulls a significant amount of dollars back to their local community in the form of grants and programs.
The Census Project brief, “Why the 2020 Census Matters for Rural America” by Cara Brumfield states preliminary analysis indicates over 300 federally funded programs depended on census data to distribute around $900 billion to states in 2016. Most of these programs supported rural America in four areas: grants, direct loans, guaranteed/insured loans, and direct payments such as SNAP and Medicaid.
In 2020, for the first time ever, participants in the census will be able to respond on line instead of doing the usual paper forms. Morrow noted households are actually being urged to respond online although the options of responding by phone or paper questionnaire remain. Morrow said staff at the McCreary County Public Library will be prepared to assist local residents with their forms on line or by paper.
Nevels is adamant about the importance of getting accurate numbers and data during the coming census.
“Numbers are important and drive much of our funding,” he explained. “It’s crucial that every McCreary Countian be counted.”

Leave a Comment