By Linda Dillman
Taking the nation’s head count every 10 years is a daunting task and communities like Canal Winchester are being invited to help ensure everyone is part of the data.
During the May 20 Canal Winchester City Council meeting, United States Census partnership specialist Mark Boyd said the collection effort for the 2020 count is a massive operation with lots of moving parts and is the nation’s largest non-military operation.
“It is mandated by the Constitution,” said Boyd. “It determines representation in Congress, determines funding allocations and data is used for planning and decision making.”
Boyd said accuracy is important and that miscounts can impact funding in a large way. If an individual is not counted, the loss could be up to $18,000 over a 10-year period.
In navigating barriers and challenges in participation—such as declining response rates and a distrust in the federal government—Boyd said his department is turning to social media and providing an option to complete a census securely online.
“Completing the census online can save time and thousands and thousands in taxpayer dollars,” said Boyd. “We will knock on doors only when necessary.”
Boyd asked the city to form a local volunteer Complete Count Committee to increase self-response rates, increase awareness and identify hard-to-count populations.
Mayor Mike Ebert said he and Community Affairs Director Amanda Lemke are forming a CCC comprised of school administrators, business leaders, residents, city employees and participants from Community Round Table meetings.
“Everyone needs to be counted and counted only once,” said Ebert. “It’s important for everyone to be counted as it helps Canal Winchester and our region with highway funding and infrastructure funding, such as water and sewer. It also helps with the funding of hospitals, schools, social services, housing, roads, bridges and more.”
Following the 2010 census, Canal Winchester reached city status, which Ebert admitted did not offer big benefits.
“Having the name city attached to Canal Winchester throws us in the same category with much larger cities like Columbus and many others in the state,” said Ebert. “It makes it more difficult for us to compete when it comes to grant awards and funding, however we have been doing pretty good with that in recent years.”
While census reporting online is available, Ebert said there is a need for census workers locally and there are openings for a variety of full and part time jobs in the Canal Winchester area. The pay range is $14 to $18 an hour, depending on the job.
“The earlier you apply, the better chance you have of landing a good-paying full time job,” said Ebert.
The census count begins on Jan. 21, 2020 in Toksook Bay, Alaska. In March, nearly every household in the country will receive an invitation to respond to the 2020 census online, by mail or phone. Non-respondents will be contacted in person.
To apply for a job with the federal government as a census worker go to www.2020census.gov/jobs.