ORANGEBURG, S.C. — The numbers from the 2020 U.S. Census show South Carolina grew 10.7 percent from 2010 to 2020. That means less state funding for 35 of the state's 46 counties. Orangeburg County is one of the counties that will receive less funding.
Representative Jerry Govan, Jr., who represents Orangeburg County District 95, believes COVID played a major part in why more people did not participate in the count.
"There are several of us that challenge that and felt like the numbers are not accurate since the count was done in the middle of the pandemic," Govan said.
Govan says rural areas will miss the money, unlike the 11 counties that did grow in population. He says towns depend on that money for improvement to infrastructure and other services.
"We have a lot of municipalities and towns that need those funds, Govan explained. "When you look at education and road repair, it cuts funding across the board."
State lawmakers did put in place a new program to offset some losses in slow-growing counties. Govan believes different efforts, like physically going to those areas with lack of WiFi access need to be ramped up for the next census count.
"I think a number of the areas were put at a disadvantage, in particular in rural areas of the state," Govan said. "We're going to need more boots on the ground efforts to find and count those individuals."