More than $12 Billion at Stake

The goal of the 2020 Census was to count everyone once, only once and in the right place.
In FY2016, South Carolina received $12,691,509,891 through 55 federal spending programs guided by data derived from the 2010 Census. In South Carolina, each person represents $809 in Federal funding (in Georgia, it’s $708, in North Carolina, it’s $988). The five Federal Medical Assistance Programs that comprise this number are Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Title IV-E Foster Care, Title IV-E Adoption Assistance, and the Child Care and Development Fund. There are additional Federal funds for other programs that aren’t directly tied to an individual.   For a fuller explanation of the fiscal counts to SC by a Census undercount see Counting for Dollars 2020.

Within the state of South Carolina, Anderson county finished 6th of our 46 counties. Percentage-wise, the county was just 0.5% below its 2010 Census response rate. Covid-19 considerations negatively impacted out response rate. People were understandably distracted by job losses – or working from home – or working at home with school-age children at home. Some folks had to leave their homes and were doubling or tripling up, or lived in non-traditional housing, so they weren’t at the address at which the Census invitation arrived.  Although being able to respond to the Census via phone, smart phone or internet was convenient, those neither administratively inclined nor unconnected to those tools were disadvantaged.

In Anderson county, it is likely that both seniors and economically-displaced adults were not completely counted in Census 2020.  It is also likely that children under the age of five had an even higher rate of undercount than in 2010; you can see where that happened in the map below.

Hard to Count Areas

Here’s a graphic for Anderson County based on

Beyond the Census every ten years, the Census Bureau performs many other annual statistical surveys, including both the American Community Survey (ACS) and the American Housing Survey (AHS).  Examples of uses of ACS data can be found in the Census Bureau’s data stories:  The AHS provides up-to-date information about the quality and cost of housing across the United States and metropolitan areas.  There is more localized information available at the county level, for example, in the community resilience estimates, which looks at income to poverty ratio, single or zero caregiver households, crowding, communication barrier, households without full-time year-round employment, disability, no health insurance, age 65+, no vehicle access and no broadband internet access.  The more of the risk factors an area has, the less likely it is to be resilient to sudden changes (such as a pandemic).  In our county, a full two-thirds of the population had at least one risk factor, and a quarter – more than 50,000 –  had three or more.  You can look at the visualization here:

The Household Pulse Survey (and its companion, the Small Business Pulse) was designed to quickly and efficiently collect data on how people’s lives have been impacted by the pandemic.  It includes information at the state level about food scarcity, difficulty paying for usual household expenses, employment and other areas:

The US Department of Agriculture provides data and visualizations on household food security, food access and the food environment of neighborhoods.  The Food Access Research Atlas: allows you see this information down to the census tract level. for example, the entire area around Townville is census tract 109.  The Food Environment Atlas looks at store/restaurant proximity, food prices, food and nutrition assistance programs and community characteristics:  You can also look at reports that pull together many factors, such as their Household Food Security in the United States in 2020 report: