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Last day for census is Sept. 30

The last day to respond to the 2020 Census is Sept. 30, which will impact state and local communities for the next 10 years.

The census day was originally April 1, but because of the pandemic, the deadline was pushed back.

“We were ramping up to push hard on the census when COVID hit,” said Flite Freimann, chairman of the Washington County Complete Count Committee. “We’re working closely with the U.S. Census Bureau to keep information up and going.”

He said Washington County is doing well, with a self-response rate of 66.2 percent, which is only about four percentage points from the 2010 census.

“You receive the census form in the mail or submit it online, that is self-response,” Freimann explained. “If you complete it that way, we don’t have to send an enumerator to your house. The more people self-respond, the fewer enumerators we have to send out.”

People can fill out and send back the forms they were sent in March, or complete the form at 2020census.gov. Ohioans can also complete the census by calling 1-844-330-2020.

Freimann said to find out if someone in your household has filled out the forms, go to 2020census.gov, type in your address and it will tell if the census has been completed on the residence.

The responses to the census determine how many representatives each state will have, as well as the allocation of funding for towns, cities and counties.

“Everything the state does is on a pro rata basis,” Freimann said. “As the percentage of people declines, the amount of funding declines.”

He said the enumerators will be concentrate near Macksburg and in downtown Marietta, where response rates have been low. He believes the 38 or 39 percent response rate near Macksburg is because of lack of internet, an older population and a distrust of government.

“Downtown Marietta, where they may have transient people, has also had an abysmally low, in the mid-40s, response rate,” he noted.

People have unique living arrangements and don’t want to give information to the government, but the data collected is 100 percent confidential, he added.

“Maybe Grandma is taking care of her grandson, but doesn’t want people to know. Maybe someone is sleeping on the couch, but shouldn’t be there because of a criminal conviction,” Freimann said. “The census information doesn’t come back to children services, the sheriff or court.”

He added they only want to know the number of people living in the house. The goal is to have more people self-respond by mail or online, but if someone comes to your door and says they are from the Census Bureau, it’s OK to ask for their ID and answer their questions.

According to 2020census.gov, when filling out the census form online, it must be done in one sitting, as there is no way to save progress.

One person should respond for each home and that person must be at least 15 years old. They should live in the home or place of residence themselves and know general information about each person living there.

Each person should be counted where they were living and sleeping most of the time as of April 1, 2020, including young children, foster children, roommates and family or friends who are living in the residence, even temporarily.

The website notes that if a person is staying in a residence temporarily due to the pandemic, they should be counted where they usually live.

Along with funding, the census determines government representation. The goal, by law, is to have by April 1, 2021, a new allocation of congressional seats and the redistricting of them, Freimann said.

“The problem is that at least one federal court has issued injunctions that say they can’t stop the census on Sept. 30 because not everyone has been counted,” he explained.

Locally, they are still planning for the census to stop Sept. 30.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com

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