GALLIPOLIS — As the country prepares for the 2020 U.S. Census, members of the Gallia County 2020 Census Complete Count Committee are addressing members of the public about the importance of the census process and how to take part.
The U.S. Census is taken every 10 years and attempts to take a count of all the population of the U.S. It was founded in July 1, 1902.
“I want to stress how important it is that we get a complete count in Gallia County,” said Gallia County Commissioner Harold Montgomery before the Gallipolis City Commission recently. “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.”
Gallia County 2020 Complete Census Count Committee Liaison Lori Church addressed the commission next.
“There are $665 billion available from the census as federal monies and grants that are available to states and counties and we want to make sure everyone is counted so we can get our fair share of that money,” said Church. “Those monies go to roads, schools, hospitals, public services for the elderly and SNAP and TANF programs…As Harold said in 2010, 78 percent of citizens in our country participated in the census which left roughly $50 million in potential funding on the table.”
Church said she would like to see participation of the census in Gallia be increased by 10 percent so that “We can get all the money we can” for community projects.
The liaison said she was looking to hold workshops with civic organizations that would be willing to host informational meetings about the census.
“One thing is that it’s a lot easier than it was 10 years ago,” said Church. “You can do it online. Starting this month around the twentieth to the twenty-eighth, you’ll get a card in the mail and it will have a number online. 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.”
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.
If residents don’t register for the census by April, census workers are anticipated to arrive in May to their homes with a census badge, bag and a laptop.
Representatives from all civic organizations, the business community and nonprofits are encouraged to reach out to Church, Gallia County Complete Count Committee Liaison, at Lori.Church@JFS.Ohio.Gov.
For more information, visit www.census.gov.
Dean Wright is a staff writer with Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342. © 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.