Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson, and Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips praised the U.S. Census Bureau’s decision to count U.S. military personnel who are deployed outside the U.S. and are living on or off a military installation outside the U.S. as residents of the state where they live and sleep most of the time. Previously, the Census counted deployed servicemembers as residents of states they lived in at the time they originally enlisted for service.
For more than a year, Senator Tillis has been encouraging the U.S. Census Bureau to make this change, meeting with director John Thompson several times to make the case in person. He also called for a public hearing in Fayetteville, which was held in August 2015 and attended by members of Senator Tillis’ staff, Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson, Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips, members of the Fayetteville City Council, Cumberland County commissioners and Onslow County commissioners.
The changes to the 2020 census mean that all soldiers, airmen and Marines from North Carolina’s military installations will be counted in the decennial census as residents of the state, regardless of whether or not they are deployed abroad.
The undercounting of servicemembers cost North Carolina, the ninth largest state in the nation, a new congressional seat following the 2010 census.
Most importantly, since many federal tax dollars are proportional to population, North Carolina would benefit from additional Department of Education, transportation, and agriculture funding as a result of an increased population in the 2020 census.
“So many of our brave servicemembers live here in North Carolina, vote here, pay taxes here, and send their children to school here. They deserve to be counted as residents of our state,” said Senator Tillis. “I’m ecstatic that the U.S. Census Bureau implemented my recommendation to count servicemembers as residents of the state in which they live most of the time, particularly important for a state like North Carolina blessed with a proud and significant military community and home to America’s Global Response Force and 45 percent of the Marine Corps.”
“The change in the Census count is potentially a great boost to our economies, both statewide and local,” said Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson. “By more accurately tracking our Heroes serving our Country based or deployed out of North Carolina, we will all benefit."
“An accurate count of the military in our community is vital for providing services to accommodate our military personnel and their families,” said Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips. “We estimate that more than 20,000 persons were not counted accurately in our community during the last Census. This presented major concerns for our community. Senator Tillis listened to our concerns and now there is a solution.”