MIDDLEPORT — Every 10 years, the Census Bureau counts everyone who lives in the United States and five of its territories.
As the 2020 U.S. Census approaches, community leaders are working to ensure that everyone in Meigs County is counted.
To ensure high response rates, local leaders have formed the Meigs County 2020 Census Complete Count Committee. The group’s efforts will focus on highlighting the importance of census participation and offering the necessary resources to residents. Meigs County Department of Job and Family Services Director Chris Shank was selected to serve as committee chair in Meigs County.
Leaders from numerous county agencies, schools, businesses and other entities have joined the committee, helping to spread the message regarding the importance of the 2020 Census.
Currently, committee members are working to spread the word on the importance of participation in the Census.
The census is required by the U.S. Constitution to determine the number of seats each state gets in the House of Representatives. It also provides data for redrawing legislative districts.
Responding is important because state, local and federal lawmakers use statistics from the decennial census to help them determine how more than $675 billion in federal funds will be spent every year for the next 10 years.
From infrastructure improvements to school funding, census data is widely used by multiple branches of both the state and federal government to set allocation amounts. Development of new policy and research also depends on the large data set, and when census tracts return lower percentages of respondents, accuracy can be a concern.
Funds influenced by census statistics are used for critical infrastructure and public services such as roads and bridges, hospitals and health care clinics, emergency response, and schools and education.
In March 2020, residents who receive mail at their physical addresses will receive an invitation to complete questionnaire about anyone who lives at the address on April 1, 2020 (Census Day).
For the first time, everyone can respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone or by mail.
Invitations will be sent out by the U.S. Census Bureau the week of March 12 and at that time online and phone response will begin. Self response will end around May 1. Non-response-follow up will then begin and Census personnel will follow up in person to gain responses.
The Census Bureau does not mail to P.O. boxes. Instead, census takers deliver paper questionnaires to each home in such areas, along with information about options to respond by phone or online, and confirm/record the physical location of the home. In-person follow-ups are made if no response is received.
For more information on the census, as well as local efforts, visit Count MEigs Census on Facebook.
A portion of the information for the article provided by the United States Census Bureau, census.gov.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.