GALLIA COUNTY — Census Day is April 1 and despite ongoing concerns with COVID-19, area residents can still sign up during the once-a-decade counting.
“One thing is that it’s a lot easier than it was 10 years ago,” said Gallia County 2020 Complete Census Count Committee Liaison Lori Church at a previous Gallipolis City Commission meeting. “You can go immediately online and complete your census then. If you don’t want to do it like that, you can do it over the phone or wait for the paper application. They’re not going to ask you for social security numbers, bank information or how much money you make.”
By April 1, most area residents should have received mailed information describing how one can register for the U.S. 2020 Census. If not, Church said that most can still sign up at www.census.gov.
The information given to the census is confidential for 72 years. It asks for the names of individuals living in a home, their dates of birth and ages. Data collected can only be used for statistical purposes.
“That’s all the information they’ll want to know,” said Church.
Church said that around 34 percent of Gallia residents have currently signed up for the census. The U.S. Census in 2010 counted 30,934 residents living in the county’s borders.
The Gallia 2020 Complete Census Count Committee hopes to increase resident participation by at least 10 percent to assist Gallia residents in getting as much government money as possible. Census counts often dictate the amount of money local government, schools, civic organizations and nonprofit organizations can receive through grants and other initiatives.
According to Gallia Commissioner Harold Montgomery at a previous Gallipolis City Commission meeting,”I want to stress how important it is that we get a complete count in Gallia County. Ten years ago in our census data, we lost about six of our townships being LMI qualified, meaning ‘low to moderate income.’ As a result, the fire departments were not able to receive any grant dollars from that. Five years later, we’ve gotten that (relabeled), so we’re still down maybe one fire department. There’s a lot more to this than just our local grant dollars or fire departments. The count is important in everything.”
Previously, if residents had not signed up for the census via phone or online, field workers were anticipated to go door-to-door.
According to a news release published via the www.census.gov website on March 28, “Based on continuing assessments of guidance from federal, state and local health authorities, the U.S. Census Bureau is suspending 2020 Census field operations for two additional weeks to April 15, 2020. The Census Bureau is taking this step to help protect the health and safety of the American public, Census Bureau employees, and everyone who will go through the hiring process for temporary census taker positions. The Census Bureau continues to evaluate all 2020 Census field operations, and will communicate any further updates as soon as possible. The 2020 Census is open for self-response online at 2020Census.gov, over the phone by calling the number provided in your invitation, and by paper through the mail.”
Area residents may email Church at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or call the U.S. Census Bureau at 844-330-2020 to complete their count.
Dean Wright is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.