The Census is safe, easy and important

By Julie Ehemann - Guest columnist

I was recently appointed by Governor DeWine to serve on the Governor’s Census 2020 Complete Count Commission. We held our first meeting recently to develop our plan for ensuring Ohio has an accurate census count in 2020.

The first job of the census is to hire workers. There are many opportunities for work including census takers, recruiting assistance, office staff and more.

The Census is confidential. Your information is safe and is only used for statistical purposes all Census workers are required by law to protect the privacy of the data obtained during a census. This remains until 72 years after the census was taken.

The importance of the census is realized when you understand what the numbers mean to your community. Your voice at the state and federal level is determined by the population of your community. Ohio is predicted to lose a seat in the House of Representatives if the population count goes as predicted. That’s a hard pill to swallow for those of us that believe our communities are growing. We want to ensure Ohio’s voice is heard at the national level and believe an accurate count will lessen the likelihood that Ohio loses representation. Census data is also used when distributing federal funds. Just last year, $675 billion dollars were allocated to the states based on census data. Planning for programs and services in education, health care, transportation, social services, and emergency response all use census information. Businesses use census data to decide where to build and locate facilities which creates jobs.

The Commission worked to identify hard to count populations and looked to our personal networks to see how we can reach these persons and ensure they are counted. Some of our under counted populations include young children, immigrants, individuals with mental or physical disabilities, individuals with limited computer access, and highly mobile persons.

Here in Shelby County, we have taken steps to establish a volunteer Complete Count Committee that will help to identify persons that might be missed, and have hired an intern to coordinate the work of this committee. Sub-committees are being formed and we are actively looking to engage more people on these committees. It is important that our faith community, schools, and businesses all play a role in addition to our social service agencies and government services. Please reach out if these opportunities appeal to you.

The year 2020 brings a new era to the Census as it will be the first time persons can submit their census online. The census will still be available to complete by phone or on paper forms. Most persons will be asked to answer just two questions related to their residence with seven questions asked for each person living in the household. Easy.

As we prepare for the actual census count with April 1 being the reference day, you will see much information about the 2020 Census. As a member of the Complete Count Commission I will be available to answer your questions or you can refer to Census.Ohio.Gov.

Please help us to get a complete count by completing your survey when you receive it in March of 2020.

The Census is safe, it’s easy, and it’s important! Join me in being counted in 2020.

#Census2020 #OhioCensus2020 #BeCountedOH2020

By Julie Ehemann

Guest columnist

The writer is a pharmacist and the Shelby County commissioner chair.

The writer is a pharmacist and the Shelby County commissioner chair.