EATON — The United States Census Bureau will be conducting the next census in 2020. During Eaton City Council’s meeting on Monday, May 20, Partnership Specialist Carolyn Tepe presented her plan to council. The census is planned to be held on April 1, 2020.
She explained, the goal of the census is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place. This is important, because it is in the United States Constitution.
The first U.S. Census was conducted under Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson in 1790. In 1970, census forms were mailed to 60 percent of U.S. households with a mail back feature. In 1990, electronic data collection and telephone responses began. The elimination of the “long form” happened in 2010.
According to Tepe, this census, to be held in 2020, will be the first census where there will be an online self-response option.
There are four uses of census data: apportionment, redistricting, funding, and planning.
Congressional seats are divided based on census data. In 2010, the State of Ohio lost two seats due to the census data. They anticipate Ohio may lose another seat in the 2020 census.
Tepe explained, “Ohio is still growing, but Ohio isn’t growing at the rate of some of the other states in the country. Our population is shifting.”
After each census, state officials use the results to redraw the boundaries of their congressional and state legislative districts, adapting to population shifts.
The census also works to help divide the $675 billion of funeral funds that flow from the State of Ohio to local governments for transportation and roads, pre-k, head start, and school lunch, healthcare services, SNAP, WIC, and Housing programs.
It is estimated that $1,814 in federal funds is potentially lost for each person that is not counted – for each year for 10 years.
Census data is used for various types of planning. Residents use the census to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life, and consumer advocacy. Businesses use Census Bureau data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, which create jobs. Local government officials use the census to ensure public safety and plan new schools and hospitals. Real estate developers and city planners use the census to plan new homes and improve neighborhoods.
According to Tepe, they are changing design for the 2020 census. Currently, they are working on establishing where to court. Next, they will motivate people to respond, count the population, and then release census results. People will begin to receive mailings in their homes on March 12, which is also the date the census website will go up for people to respond.
She added, they are asking for help from the communities through Census Ambassadors, who will help reach renters, highly mobile people, young adults, low income, young children, non-English speakers, LGBTQ persons, racial and ethnic minorities, and mental or physical disabled.
Census Ambassadors increase participation through addressing various individual concerns including: data privacy and confidentiality, fear of repercussions, distrust of government, feeling that it doesn’t matter if you are counting, and understanding how census does benefit everyone and secures the future of communities.
Council has the opportunity to form a Complete Count Committee, which is a volunteer committee established by tribal, state, and local governments, and/or community leaders, to increase awareness about the census and motivate residents in the community to respond.
The Census Bureau is also hiring community members to help count. These are mostly part-time positions, but there are some full-time positions as well. For more information, visit 2020census.gov/jobs.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH