Census Factsheets



For 230 years, the U.S. federal government has collected information every 10 years on where people live. The next Census will be this year, with Census Day being on April 1, 2020.

Census data is used by federal and state programs to distribute billions in funds each year. In fact, Wilson County, its residents and organizations receive more than $400,000 per day in federal benefits that are based totally or mostly on population.

That’s why Wilson County needs to have as accurate a count as possible – to ensure that we get our fair share of money for emergency services, schools, roads, school lunches and other programs.

Each person missed this spring potentially will cost our community more than $20,000 in state and federal funds over the next decade, based on the results of the 2010 census and subsequent funding. The next chance to correct an undercount will be in 2030.

Funding based on Census Data

Here are some of the ways that Census helps bring money into Wilson County:

  • Federal funds based on Census data help Wilson County’s city, towns and county governments, Social Service agencies, local doctors and Wilson Medical Center, Wilson County Schools and other agencies.
  • More than $160 million in federal and state funds were spent here in Medicaid in 2018, according to Wilson County Department of Social Services. That provides health coverage for low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
  • County residents received $21,382,969 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds in 2018, the program once called food stamps. SNAP serves the most at-risk citizens, predominantly households with children, elderly or disabled members. Nearly half of all SNAP participants are children.
  • Federal funds assist in paying for approximately 9,000 meals a day for Wilson County Schools students.
  • Federal and state funds paid $4.1 million in child care funding last year for county households.
  • North Carolina Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) spent $430,053 in 2018 to help pay heating costs of Wilson County households that fall below maximum income levels.
  • Wilson County agencies received $96,000 from the U.S./ Department of Housing and Urban Development to fight homelessness in 2019.

Planning for a better future

Census data, collected every 10 years, determines your representation in Congress and determines how funds are spent in your community on things like roads, schools, and hospitals.

Here are ways that Census data is used for a better future:

  • Information about how many people live in a town and where they live is critical for emergency response. Data helps plan for facilities such as hospitals, schools, fire departments, police stations, and, in the case of emergencies, where emergency shelters open.
  • Population numbers help state and federal officials plan for health issues, such as the potential for spread of communicable diseases; where to locate hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other health services; how to design facilities for people with disabilities, the elderly, or children; and how to evaluate these programs.
  • FEMA uses Census Bureau data to identify communities with critical business types, including hospitals, corporate headquarters, and other facilities that render an area more at risk during natural disasters.
  • The Census and the American Community Survey provide data for businesses that drives decisions such as where to open new businesses and restaurants or expand existing ones, how to invest in efficient marketing and merchandising strategies, forecast demand, growth and staffing needs.

Check out the official US 2020 Census page for more information.