Counting heads: Emergency funds based on census estimates

Cooke County census self-response rates by census tract. Orange areas have less than 50% of households responding. Light blue areas have 51-56% responding; sky blue areas have 57-62% responding; and the dark blue tract has from 63-68% responding.

Federal funds are helping offset costs incurred by the coronavirus pandemic in Cooke County.

Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley said Tuesday, June 2, that the county has received $224,763 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The CARES Act was signed into law in March to cushion the economy from the effects of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2.

Brinkley said the county is allowed to receive up to $1,123,815. The first 20% was provided to the county immediately. Anything additional is by reimbursement, he said.

The funds, which are required to be spent on coronavirus-related expenses, have so far been used on hiring temporary part-time employees, the surge capacity tent set up at North Texas Medical Center, antibody tests for first responders and setting up glass partitions in county offices, according to Brinkley.

The CARES Act, he said, is an example of where U.S. Census Bureau data was used to determine funding.

All Texas entities with a population of less than 500,000 recently received funds from the CARES Act via the state at a rate of $55 per person, Brinkley said.

“The determination of how many persons were within the jurisdictions used the latest census estimates,” he said.

Information provided by Brinkley shows Cooke County’s population estimate at 41,257.

The 2020 census is underway and filling out the form is not only required by law, but beneficial to the community in which you live, officials say. The census form can be found online at www.2020census.gov. Residents can also call 1-844-330-2020 to complete the census over the phone.

One person who is at least 15 years old should respond for each home, according to the 2020 census website. The person responding should live in the home or place of residence themselves and know general information about each person living there.

Responses are used only to produce statistics, according to the census website, which states “the Census Bureau does not disclose any personal information.”

From Aug. 11 to Oct. 31, census takers will interview homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 census to help make sure everyone is counted.

Statistics show that as of Monday, June 1, Cooke County’s self-response rate to the census is 55%, comparable to that of the overall state response rate of 55.2%. The southeast corner of the county has the highest self-response rate with 63.1% of the area’s households completing the 2020 census. Most of them, or 54.6% of households, completed their form online, the census website indicates. The lowest response has been the northwest corner of the county with a 43.5% completion rate. Statistics show 38% of households there completed their forms online.

Self-response means to have completed the 2020 census by mail, phone or online.

“Well over a hundred federal programs have funding that is, in some form, tied to population determined by the census,” Brinkley previously told the Register. “From a local entity standpoint, this includes homeland security funds, school funding and highway funding.”

The U.S. has counted its population every 10 years since 1790, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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