Sunshine Weekly: counting the military

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Eleven members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting a change in how the Census counts temporarily deployed service personnel based in North Carolina.

The letter details why current census methodology used to count deployed service members penalizes states with a large military presence, like North Carolina, and proposes a new method for the 2010 Census. Several other states with high military populations have requested similar changes.

If adopted, the change would increase North Carolina’s recorded population in the 2010 Census. Bob Coates, North Carolina’s Census liaison in the Office of State Management and Budget, explained, “Your home of record may be your birthplace, which could be California, even if you lived in North Carolina for 15 years. If you are deployed you would be counted in California’s count then. We do have folks in the military who use North Carolina as their ‘home of record’ but these counts would be assigned to the state, not a given county or municipality. This is only true of service members, not their families. If they live in North Carolina, they receive a Census form and if they fill it out, they are counted in the county or city where they reside. Deployed personnel do not receive a form, instead they use their records, which is why this is so important.”

Coats stated it would be, “December or sometime by the first quarter” before North Carolina learns if its proposed recommendation is adopted.

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