XENIA — Census takers have begun following up with Greene County households that have not filled out the census yet.
Wearing masks and social distancing, census takers are going door-to-door as well as calling households.
Ohio’s self-response rate is slightly higher than the national rate, 67.7 percent to 63.4 percent, as of Aug. 11, according to 2020 Census data. Greene County’s self-response rate is higher, currently at 74 percent, with 63 percent coming from internet responses. The county’s final self-response rate in 2010 was 73.6 percent.
Within the county, current rates are: Beavercreek, 80 percent; Bellbrook, 83 percent; Cedarville, 59.5 percent; Fairborn, 68.5 percent; Jamestown, 64.8 percent; Xenia, 70.2 percent and Yellow Springs, 77.2 percent.
There is still time left to respond to the census, which ensures that everyone who was living in a household as of April 1, 2020 is counted. Households can complete and mail back the paper questionnaire they received, or respond online at 2020census.gov or respond by phone at 844-330-2020 in one of 13 languages. The self-response deadline is Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Devon Shoemaker, executive director for Greene County Regional Planning and Coordinating Commission, said the census determines how millions of dollars are distributed each year locally.
“Responding to the Census is vital to the community because your participation means funding for clinics, veterans’ programs, emergency management, schools, housing, fire stations and more,” Shoemaker said. “It is estimated that each uncounted person costs Greene county local programs $1,200 to $1,800.”
Shoemaker stressed that the census is confidential.
“Your answers are anonymous and only used to produce statistics,” he said. “By law, the Census Bureau cannot release any information about you or your family or your home or business. Census employees take an oath to protect your personal information.”
Identifying census takers
According to Carol Hector-Harris, media specialist for the U.S Census Bureau, census takers can be identified by a valid government ID badge that shows their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. Individuals can contact the Philadelphia regional census center at 267-780-2600 to confirm a census taker’s identity.
Census takers take a COVID-19 training on social distancing and other safety protocols before beginning door-to-door work, Hector-Harris said in a release. They are hired from local communities and speak English; many are bilingual. If a census taker does not speak the householder’s language, the household may request a return visit from a census taker who does.
If no one is home when the census taker visits, the census taker will leave a note that they visited and how to respond to the census.
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