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UNG helping Lumpkin County Census efforts

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UNG is partnering with Lumpkin County government, the City of Dahlonega and other groups in the area to ensure a strong response to the 2020 U.S. Census.

The University of North Georgia (UNG) is partnering with Lumpkin County government, the City of Dahlonega and other businesses and nonprofits in the area to help ensure a strong response to the 2020 U.S. Census. Lumpkin was deemed a hard-to-count area due to its rural location and limited internet access.

A Census representative will be on campus on Saturday, Feb. 15, during UNG's home basketball games to encourage students and residents to fill out the Census survey. UNG hosts Lander in a 1:30 p.m. doubleheader that starts with the women's game.

The U.S. Census population count has been held every 10 years since 1790, when Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson supervised the first Census, according to a timeline history on the U.S. Census website. This year's Census will be the 24th in the nation's history.

David Miller, a Lumpkin County commissioner who is leading the county efforts, said taking part in the Census is magnified in importance because the population totals recorded by the Census determine each state's number of members in the U.S. House of Representatives. In fiscal year 2015, 132 programs used Census Bureau data to distribute more than $675 billion.

About 84% of Lumpkin County residents responded to the 2010 Census, and Miller hopes that number goes above 90% in 2020.

When it comes to filling out the Census survey, Miller said students will probably find it easiest to respond online. Other methods are by phone or mail. Students at UNG's Dahlonega Campus who live on or off campus will count toward Lumpkin County, not their home counties, in the Census.

"It's an easy way for students to give back to the community," Miller said.

Each address in the country will receive an invitation by April 1 to fill out the Census online. Multiple reminders will be sent by mail before the bureau sends a Census taker to follow up in person. The deadline to the Census is July 31.

Miller said the federal government sends the county $2,300 for every respondent to the Census. He said the more people who respond in an area, the more funds the area will receive from the federal government for Head Start, Medicare, Medicaid, and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Miller said students could earn some extra cash by serving as Census takers. Those part-time jobs pay $17 per hour, plus travel. Nationally, the Census Bureau is hiring 500,000 temporary workers. Miller said UNG students from any campus interested in such a role should email Census recruiter Denica McCurdy at dnmccurdy@gmail.com.

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