Despite coronavirus challenges, more Ohioans counted in 2020 Census

Census deadline has also been extended to Oct. 31.

Ohioans have responded to this year’s census at a higher rate than 10 years ago, but organizers are still encouraging people to respond as the count continues through the end of this month.

Ohio has a 70.5% self-response rate this year, slightly higher than the 69% received in 2010, according to the latest census data.

Ohio has counted 99.8% of known households, which is about 30% more than in the last census. This includes both self-response and people who responded to a census taker at their door. In the last census, about 69% of Ohioans were counted. About 32.5% people nationwide have been counted by census takers and 66.6% of households have responded online, by phone or by mail.

“The momentum is certainly strong,” said Susan Licate, a spokeswoman at the census Bureau’s Philadelphia regional center.

Census results shape the future of communities, as the data informs how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives, and other critical programs and services for the next 10 years.

This higher count has happened despite challenges from the coronavirus and confusion over the 2020 census deadline.

The administration of President Donald Trump ruled Sept. 30 would be the last day to be counted. However, on Sept. 1 the National Urban League, several other organizations, states and cities, filed a lawsuit for more time for the count. The lawsuit says census officials said they can’t meet the Sept. 30 deadline.

The bureau’s director, Steven Dillingham, said in a statement in August that the census Bureau would hire more employees to accelerate the completion of data collection by the deadline of Dec. 31, 2020, which is required by law and directed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. The Census Bureau had previously planned on an April 2021 deadline because of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but the Trump administration denied the extension.

ExploreWith shorter Census timeline, local leaders worry area will be undercounted

Late on Oct. 1, a federal district judge ruled that the count must continue through Oct. 31. Miami Valley residents can still fill out the census online or call (844) 330-2020 and fill out the census via telephone.

Licate said enabling people to fill out the census online in 12 different languages has made it more accessible to some.

The 2020 census has had some barriers because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In-person outreach was significantly delayed, starting in Ohio in August instead of April as originally planned. census takers will continue to visit households that have not yet responded until Oct. 31.

Licate said that census takers will not ask to come into homes and will be carrying bags clearly marked with the 2020 census logo.

The U.S. government uses the census to determine how to allocate $675 billion per year in funding to state and local governments. census data will also determine the number of representatives states will send to the U.S. House of Representatives and sets the district boundaries for congressional, state legislative and other local elections. Ohio lost two congressional seats as a result of the 2010 census.

Licate urged Ohioans to respond to the census now.

“If you’ve already responded, make sure a friend, family member, a neighbor, a coworker, they’ve responded,” Licate said.

How area counties rank in Ohio census response:

Warren: 4th at 79%

Butler: 29th at 73.3%

About the Author