Union County ranks fifth in the state and 75th in the country for households that have responded to the 2020 census survey. This U.S. Census Bureau map shows that nearly 80% of Union County residents responded. It shows areas of higher and lower response rates. Census takers will be going door to door to homes that have not yet responded to the census. (Photo submitted)
Is fifth highest in the state
With a little more than two weeks to go, local census officials are pleased with the local response, but are urging the community to finish strong.
“There has been a lot of challenges this year, but I really applaud Union County for coming together for this,” said Jason Stanford, development services manager for Union County-Marysville Economic Development and co-chair of the Union County Complete Count Committee. “I think it will really pay dividends the next 10 years.”
Brad Bodenmiller, director of the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission and co-chair of the Union County Complete Count Committee, said that as of Aug. 30, the response rate in Union County is the fifth highest in the State of Ohio and the 75th highest, out of 3,215 counties, in the United States.
According to Bodenmiller’s statistics, through Aug. 30, about 77.7% of the county households completed their census information without a visit from the census employees. In 2010, 72.8% completed the census survey.
“Compared to 2010, the response rate in every census tract is higher,” Bodenmiller said, noting that 10 years ago when the last census was taken, Union County ranked 20th in the state.
Stanford said some areas are doing exceptionally well, specifically mentioning Marysville and portions of Jerome Township. He said some of the more rural areas have not yet responded. Stanford said the U.S. Census Bureau provides detailed information that the local committee “has been using to target specific parts of the county where response rates have been lower.”
Stanford and Bodenmiller each credited the Union County Complete Count Committee with “a strong, grassroots effort to make sure everyone gets counted in Union County.”
“I think a lot of the reason we are trending up when others, especially in Ohio, are trending down is that we have had a very dedicated team to get the word out,” Stanford said.
Bodenmiller added, “Our local census committee, residents and many others have worked hard to increase our responses over the last several months.”
He said the country is in, “the final days of the 2020 Census.”
Sept. 30 is the final day to complete the census.
Officials said that in the last weeks, census takers will be going door to door to make sure the entire county gets counted. Bodenmiller said census takers go to homes where a census response has not been registered. He said that sometimes a census taker will go to a home that has already completed the census but the response hasn’t been catalogued yet.
Census takers can be easily identified by a valid government ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date on the badge.
Officials have said it is important that the count is accurate and complete.
“There is a lot of federal funds that get distributed based on this information,” Bodenmiller said. “Our response has an impact on how that gets distributed and how much money gets sent to us.”
He said money for things like schools, EMS, libraries, roads and healthcare is based on census information.
The census also determines how seats in the U.S. House of Representatives get distributed.
Stanford said that while the Union County response rate is up, in Ohio and nationally, “what we are hearing is that the response rate, in general, is below what it has been in the past.”
He said there could be a variety of reasons for that, including the COVID-19 pandemic and political distrust.
Residents can still complete their census information online at https://2020census.gov/ or by calling (844) 330-2020.