Participate in the U.S. Census

While we might not normally encourage the flaring up of community rivalries, the reason for bringing one up earlier this week is a good one.

“We’ve got to step our game up here,” said Rev. William Webster of Grace Presbyterian Church in Martins Ferry. “We’ve always had an unofficial rivalry with Marietta, why not use that to get our Census numbers up … I’m partial to the river valley we have. We have to show up those flatlands in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.”

Of course the reverend was speaking in good fun, looking for ways to inspire residents in ALL communities to participate in the U.S. Census. So far, Martins Ferry has a response rate of 58.3%, while Marietta has a rate of 61.5%. But as Marietta City Council President Susan Vessels pointed out, after Webster contacted her, “It’s important to our city and the number of state and federal dollars we’re able to receive per capita.”

If it takes a renewed “rivalry” to spark greater participation in both communities, so be it. Leaders must do whatever it takes to encourage residents to do their duty — and in turn get the money an accurate count of residents would yield.

Webster said “we’re still working on a prize,” that would help push the two communities toward an accurate count. But while this is meant to be fun, there is no doubting the seriousness of the effort.

“There are billions of dollar at stake,” Webster said, adding “plus, it’s always more fun when you make it a competition.”

Whether for the sake of competition, or simply because it is your civic duty, if you have not already done so, fill out the Census form. Your community needs you.


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