By Ted Shockley

 

If Northampton County undercounts its population during Census 2020 by just 1 percent, it could cost millions in federal funding over the next decade.

That’s what Bill O’Hare, a census expert and Cape Charles resident, told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night. He works has a consultant for the Census Bureau and has “been deeply involved” in the census for decades, he said.

One percent is just 120 residents in a county with an estimated population of 12,000. That could impact how federal appropriations find their way to the county.

“The more accurate we get, the less money we’ll lose,” he said.

He told the county to prepare for next year’s census by raising awareness about the importance of having everyone counted.

“There’s a lot of reasons why we have to worry about a complete and accurate census on the Eastern Shore,” he said.

That’s because the Eastern Shore includes several groups that are historically hard to count — including geographically isolated residents, those who don’t speak English well and low-income families, he said.