NAACP State Chapter president Lonnie Randolph says one of the important goals that his organization has this year is to make sure that this year’s census count in South Carolina is as accurate and fair as possible. Randolph says in past census counts in the state, African Americans have been grossly undercounted. “We want to make sure all South Carolinians are counted, it is an area in which we as a state are second to last in,” he says. “We have one of the worst census counts in the country. We want to make sure that all individuals are counted, especially those in under- represented communities.”
Randolph says his organization is encouraging citizens in minority communities to take census counting jobs in order to make sure more accurate numbers are counted in those communities in order that those communities give a fair and equitable share of federal and state funding for various projects and for education.
Randolph says he is well aware that with the rapid population growth in South Carolina, the state is likely to gain a 7th congressional seat and that is one of the many reasons the state as a whole should be working to increase the response rate of its citizens to the 2010 census count. “There is some talk now that we will possibly pick up an additional congressional seat because of some population shifts,” he says. “We need to make sure all people, especially those who have been disenfranchised, those who are more likely to be undercounted and underrepresented be included in this year’s count.”
According to the 2008 estimate by the U.S. Census, the population of South Carolina was 4,478,800. African Americans make up 28.5 percent of the estimated population.
Randolph says with a greater response rate to this year’s census count, the greater the likelihood that the state will receive a seventh congressional seat. Randolph says with African Americans making up nearly 30 percent of the state’s population, it is only fair that a minority should be the holder of that seat. “We will be monitoring and watching the census count,” he says. “We have one African American congressman (6th District Congressman Jim Clyburn). That is not enough. That is not fair representation. We need to show our political influence first by registering (to vote), secondly by educating, and thirdly by voting on Election Day.”