The last day for citizens to complete the census online is quickly approaching. Wednesday, April 1, is the final day to respond to the digital survey.
Letters have already been sent to every household with specific census ID numbers needed for virtual recording. Information has also been mailed out with paper copies of the questionnaire for those without internet access. Citizens can call in their responses to 844-330-2020.
Per the U.S. Census Bureau website, the national reporting rate as of March 23 is 21%, and Ohio’s rate sits at 22.4%. Delaware County surpasses both with a rate of 23.9%.
By responding online, citizens help save taxpayer money, conserve natural resources, and help the Census Bureau process data faster. This is according to information mailed out by the department. If respondents choose not to self-respond to the questionnaire, census takers will begin visiting homes in May.
The questionnaire takes about 10 minutes and asks personal information about the people living in each household. It starts off by asking how many people are living at the residence, the type of dwelling, and a phone number to reach out to in case there are questions. The survey continues into more personal information, asking for names, sex, age and race. There are no questions about citizenship on the questionnaire.
The census will never ask for social security numbers, donations or payment information. The questionnaire can be completed online and by phone in 13 different languages.
Law requires response to the census, and all answers are kept totally confidential. The U.S. Constitution states that a census must be held every 10 years since 1790. The Census Bureau is held by law to preserve respondents privacy. The data is only used to compile statistics and personal information is not disseminated. Answers cannot be shared with police or other entities.
Data collected from the census is used for various purposes. Statistics are used to determine how many seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives, where congressional lines are drawn, and how much of the $675 billion for state funding is allocated. Other uses for the data include the following:
• Highway planning
• Grants for public transit
• Grants for teachers and special education
• Helping public health officials to track outbreaks
• Determining need for schools, hospitals, etc.
• Adequate funding for Medicaid
• Housing assistance for the elderly
According to the Census Bureau website, “The goal of the 2020 census is a complete and accurate count of everyone living in the United States and its five territories.”
When the census says everyone, the bureau means it. Prisoners are counted as well as those who are homeless and living in shelters. Census takers coordinate to ensure those without permanent residences are counted just as much as others.
For further information regarding questions about the census, how funds are used, and what the bureau can do with personal information, visit its website at my2020census.gov.
Alex Hulvalchick can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @amhulvalchick.