SIDNEY – Shelby County’s response rate for the 2020 census is higher than the state and national averages but trailing some neighboring counties.
Through Tuesday, 56.2% of Shelby County households had responded to the 2020 census, which is tied with Clermont County for the 18th best rate among Ohio’s 88 counties.
“That’s a little better than I expected,” Shelby County Commissioner Julie Ehemann said. “I don’t like that we’re behind other counties in our vicinity because I think we’ve put forth more effort than some others.”
Auglaize County has the fifth best response rate in Ohio at 60.4%, Darke County is 10th at 58.9%, Mercer County is 11th at 58.7%, Miami County is 12th at 57.7%, Champaign County is 46th at 51.8%, and Logan County is 72nd at 46.1%. Medina County leads all Ohio counties with a 63.5% response rate.
Ohio’s response rate is 52.6%, which is 13th best among the 50 states and better than the national average of 49.1%. Only Michigan, with a 55.4% response rate, ranks higher than Ohio among neighboring states.
Gov. Mike DeWine challenged Ohioans Wednesday afternoon during his daily press conference to respond to the census and overtake Michigan in the national rankings.
“Our response rate is pretty good, but I want to do a little challenge here,” the governor said. “It’s always good to challenge our friends up north in Michigan. We are lagging a little bit. Ohio’s response rate, I am told, is now 52.2%. Michigan is at 55%. So I’ll challenge my fellow Buckeyes, myself included, to get this done and get this in, and let’s see if we can overcome the lead that Michigan has.”
Some local communities are doing their part including Minster and Russia, whose response rates rank among the top 1% in the state and the nation.
Minster has a 73.8% response rate, which is tied with St. Henry for the best in Ohio. Russia’s response rate is 72.3%, which is best in Shelby County and sixth best among Ohio’s 925 incorporated communities.
“I love to see the efforts that Russia has put forward so that’s wonderful news,” Ehemann said.
“Russia is a very close-knit community. I know that excellence is one of their mottos, so I’m not surprised that we’ve got a lot of participation there.”
Also exceeding state and national averages are Fort Loramie (69.5%), Anna (60.5%), Botkins (57.6%) and Sidney (53.5%).
Jackson Center (43.6%), Lockington (39.5%), Port Jefferson (35.8%) and Kettlersville (33.8%) are lagging behind state and national response rates.
“We’re doing OK, but we’re not No. 1, so I’m not satisfied,” Ehemann said.
Ehemann, who was appointed to the Governor’s Census 2020 Complete Count Commission by DeWine, is working with local census intern Jennifer Wentz and volunteers on the 2020 Census Shelby County Complete Count Committee to encourage Shelby County residents to respond to the census.
“Hopefully as we continue to remind people, they will get around to doing it,” Ehemann said.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday that it wants to delay deadlines for the 2020 census because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bureau said it’s postponing all field operations until June 1.
“I think that’s a good idea,” Ehemann said. “We can’t be going door to door and getting the numbers when you’ve got a pandemic going on.”
The results of the census, which has been held every decade since 1790, determine how many congressional seats each state gets and how $1.5 trillion in federal spending is distributed.
The 2020 census marks the first time that residents are encouraged to respond to the census online. However, individuals still may answer the questionnaire by phone or through the mail.
For more information about the 2020 census, visit https://2020census.gov or call Ehemann at 937-498-7226.
Reach this writer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-538-4824.