Contact: Rebecca DeHart, CEO
Atlanta — Today, Fair Count, Inc., a 501c-3 organization, was launched to engage hard-to-count populations in anticipation of the 2020 Census and to ensure that by completion, all Georgians are counted. Data from the 2010 Census indicates that more than 20% of Georgia’s population lives in hard-to-count neighborhoods spanning 86 counties throughout the state.
“Georgia is a vast, diverse state and each of our communities will need to be engaged in the upcoming Census,” said State Representative Carolyn Hugley, Chair of Fair Count’s Board of Directors. “Georgians risk missing out on critical federal dollars, business opportunities and may suffer unfair or inaccurate redistricting if we don’t get this count done correctly.”
The largest peacetime effort of our government, the Census provides the backbone to much of our democracy as a host of decisions are made based on its results. The 2020 Census will inform the allocation of an estimated $7 trillion nationwide over the next decade, funding everything from healthcare to education. School districts and political lines are drawn based on apportionment data from the Census. Community planners and businesses making critical decisions as to where to allocate resources, build infrastructure, open businesses and enhance opportunities for economic development gather their data from the Census. Undercounting certain populations means that those same populations may miss out on a host of resources or equal participation in government.
“Fair Count is determined to help ready Georgians for the upcoming Census and to ensure that all persons have the tools they need to participate,” said Chair Hugley. “Because the Census will largely be conducted online for the first time, many in our state who do not have access to the Internet will already start at a disadvantage. It will take some ingenuity, resources and some good old-fashioned organizing to ensure our count is as inclusive as possible.”
Joining Rep. Hugley on Fair Count’s Board of Directors are Sachin Varghese, an attorney at Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, and DuBose Porter, the former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives and a publisher of nine newspapers and periodicals in rural, Middle and South Georgia. The effort will be led by CEO Rebecca DeHart, a former statewide organization leader, and Program Director Dr. Jeanine Abrams McLean, an evolutionary biologist formerly with the CDC with expertise in population-based research. Fair Count, Inc. was founded by former Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.
“Georgia’s population is rapidly changing and it is crucial that the upcoming count is accurate,” said DeHart. “Fair Count has the ability to rapidly staff-up and organize in communities where the need is critical. And we can do it in a meaningful way, building pathways for civic participation in communities that are not often connected to larger efforts.”
“We need organizing, innovation and a thorough understanding of data and processes to get this job done,” said Dr. Abrams McLean. “In 2010, nearly 30% of Georgians failed to participate in the Census. We can do better. Because if you aren’t counted, you simply won’t count.”
The United States Census Bureau defines hard-to-count populations based on the difficulty in locating, contacting, interviewing or persuading individuals to participate. Populations that traditionally fall under the hard-to-count purview include young children, racial and ethnic minorities, non-English speakers, low-income persons, renters, people experiencing homelessness, people with mental or physical disabilities and people who do not live in traditional housing.
Contributions to Fair Count, inc. are tax-deductible to the full extent as allowed under the law and can be made online at www.FairCount.org.