Filling Out Census Can Pay Dividends For Whitfield County For Next 10 Years

Friday, May 22, 2020 - by Mitch Talley, Whitfield County Director of Communications

A leader with the 2020 Census is urging Whitfield County residents to be sure to fill out their Census forms, saying it could pay financial dividends for the next 10 years.

“Our most important mission is to count everyone where they are, to ensure that their jurisdiction receives all of the funding based on their population,” Tracey Monroe Sr., partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Field Division covering Whitfield, Pickens and Forsyth counties, said during Thursday’s “County Connect” program airing live on Whitfield County’s website,

Also appearing on the program and serving as a translator into Spanish for members of the Latino community was Eva Rodriguez, program manager of the Latin American Association’s Dalton Outreach Center.

Both Monroe and Rodriguez emphasized the importance of making sure all members of the community are counted accurately, since many government programs are based on population.
Monroe said undocumented members of the community sometimes are afraid of what might happen if they put down their information on the Census, suspecting that the Census is somehow connected with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

These people may not be engaging with the Census “because they feel that we’re of the federal government, and that we may be part of ICE,” Monroe said, “which we are not. Their information is protected for 72 years, and we had a Supreme Court decision that actually solidified this.”

Undocumented residents may have children who are U.S. citizens, Monroe said, and being counted in the Census can help their future by leading to increased federal funding for improving local infrastructure, including schools, roads leading to schools, bridges that might need to be repaired or replaced, electric and sewage projects, and expansion of public safety such as police officers, EMTs, and firefighters.

“We actually measure the number of housing starts and look at building permits to get a grasp on population and growth,” Monroe said. “We look at whether or not locations are losing population as well.”

Census numbers are also used for health care system funding “which is crucial as you can see with the current pandemic,” Monroe said. “We’re actually seen where places throughout the country may need to shore up their health care systems.”

Rodriguez said that tying the Census to the pandemic is “very important to the conversation because there are some communities struggling to provide services because they have a larger population than what they’re federally funded for. We don’t want to see that in our community for the next 10 years.”

A difficult age to count has been birth to five years, she said. “Maybe families think, why should I count this small child?” Rodriguez said. “But every child counts, everybody in your house counts because if we think about it long-term, that 5-year-old in 10 years is going to be in high school. There are resources available for your child to help them prepare for higher education or a career, not just for the Latino community but the community at large.”

Monroe said in the last Census, children under 5 years of age were undercounted by at least 1 million nationwide. He hopes a targeted campaign in partnership with schools will pay off by having them funnel the Census information down throughout the entire system.

To help make filling out the Census as easy as possible, officials offer pamphlets in 13 languages and also have information in 40 languages on the Census Bureau website at

“This Census makes it very easy for citizens who might not want someone knocking on their door wearing a mask so they can simply preemptively go online and complete the Census,” Monroe said.

Whereas in the past Census workers often knocked on doors to ask residents to fill out the forms, “due to the pandemic, this crisis, the best that we’re going to do is hang a notification on their doorknob so that way a person won’t be afraid of contact,” he said.

A special number for Spanish-speaking community members to call for more information about the Census has been set up, 1-844-468-2020.

The deadline to submit Census forms is Aug. 11, and Whitfield County has a long way to go toward meeting its final total from 2010, Monroe and Rodriguez said. As of Thursday morning, Whitfield County was at a 51.2 percent response rate, compared to a final rate of 78.5 percent in 2010.
“County residents, just remember we don’t want to give all that funding to other counties just because we haven’t filled out our Census forms,” Laughter said.

Added Rodriguez: “We encourage the Latino community and will continue to encourage the Latino community of the high importance of the Census and how it literally affects so many aspects in our community.”

Earlier in the “County Connect” program,  Whitfield County Emergency Management Director Claude Craig provided the latest statistics for both the state and Whitfield County, numbers that continue to trend in the right direction, he said.

In the county, for example, as of Thursday, there were no positive COVID-19 patients in the Intensive Care Unit at Hamilton Medical Center, no COVID-19 patients on ventilators, and only three patients hospitalized with COVID-19. He said throughout the pandemic, a total of 218 positive tests have been recorded locally, with 21 hospitalizations and seven deaths resulting.
Statewide, Craig said Gov. Brian Kemp reported today that since May 1, there has been a 38 percent reduction in COVID-19 hospitalizations, and only 30 percent of the available ventilators are being used. 

Other key statewide numbers throughout the pandemic as of today include 407,731 tests for COVID-19, 40,405 positive results, 1,642 ICU admissions, 7,235 hospitalizations, and 1,754 deaths.  He said out of 40,405 positive tests, 38,651 are in some stage of recovery.

“That is remarkable that our hospital census is down that low,” Craig said. “It just seems to be that we’re trending toward what we wanted to see,  the numbers going down.”

He warned residents to continue to be vigilant, especially with the Memorial Day holiday coming up, a time when traditionally large groups of people gather, possibly spreading the virus. He urged people to continue to practice social distancing and frequent hand washing “and do what we’re doing now and hopefully we’ll avoid what I call COVID-19 2.0 that might come back this fall. We don’t want to see that. Right now, we are gaining on our end goal.”

The next “County Connect” show will be Thursday, May 28 at 5 p.m. You can watch all the shows online on the county’s website.

Questions for the county commissioners can be sent by e-mail to Laughter at, Harold Brooker at, Roger Crossen at, Greg Jones at, or Barry Robbins at You can also call the county offices at 706-275-7500.

Amazon Offering More Than 2,000 Full-Time Jobs To Seasonal Employees Across Tennessee

Georgia Reports Record Unemployment Rates Across State

FourBridges Expands Restructuring And Debt Financing Advisory Practice

In March, Amazon announced it would hire more than 175,000 temporary full- and part-time roles across its North American operations network to help provide for communities relying on Amazon’s ... (click for more)

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced on Thursday that April’s unemployment numbers for Georgia’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), regions, and counties are at a reported all-time ... (click for more)

FourBridges Capital Advisors announced Wednesday the expansion of the firm’s Restructuring and Debt Financing Advisory practice, adding five senior professionals with backgrounds in restructuring ... (click for more)


Amazon Offering More Than 2,000 Full-Time Jobs To Seasonal Employees Across Tennessee

In March, Amazon announced it would hire more than 175,000 temporary full- and part-time roles across its North American operations network to help provide for communities relying on Amazon’s service and keep as many people working as possible during the coronavirus pandemic. This included more than 3,500 new employees hired in Tennessee. Like other companies, Amazon brought ... (click for more)

Georgia Reports Record Unemployment Rates Across State

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced on Thursday that April’s unemployment numbers for Georgia’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), regions, and counties are at a reported all-time high across all categories. Regional commissions reported unemployment rates at all-time highs in Atlanta, Coastal Georgia, Georgia Mountains, Northeast Georgia, Northwest Georgia, River ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Hamilton County Has One-Day Record 96 Coronavirus Cases; Hospitalizations (29) And Those In Intensive Care (17) Also At Record High

Hamilton County on Friday reported 96 more positive COVID-19 cases - the largest one-day total yet. That brings the total of confirmed cases in the county since the virus broke out in March to 939. There are 29 coronavirus patients in Chattanooga hospitals, which is the largest number yet. There are 17 coronavirus patients in Intensive Care in Chattanooga hospitals - also ... (click for more)

24 Patients, 1 Staff Member Test Positive For Coronavirus At NHC Rossville

Twenty four patients have tested positive for coronavirus at a retirement center in Rossville. Officials also said a staff member tested positive at NHC HealthCare. A second employee is being checked, officials said. None of the patients have been transferred to the hospital, the facility said. Officials said the majority of those who tested positive are not showing ... (click for more)


A New Low For Bureaucratic Dysfunction

Forced emissions testing – a new low for bureaucratic dysfunction. In our old way of living, there were two certainties: Death and taxes. In our new world, the government is giving some relief from taxes but has chosen to substitute vehicle emissions testing. Now the two certainties are death and emissions testing. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is sickening ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Erma Bombeck, surely one of the greatest newspaper columnists in our lifetime, once decreed, "When humor goes, there goes civilization." With a new spate of disappointing news this week, it is easy to see the sage Erma was right, and thus we welcome this week’s newest edition of The Saturday Funnies. As longtime readers are aware, the Funnies are a collection of the nameless missives ... (click for more)