Get counted

Self-response rates for the 2020 Census continue to be updated. McArthur leads the county in self-response rates.

The Census includes every person living in the United States, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Residents are counted at the address where they usually live and sleep. This is the first year the Census includes an online option. Census takers can also opt to submit a written questionnaire or to take the Census over the phone.

As of July 14, Vinton County has a response rate of 55.5 percent, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. Roughly 19 percent of these responses were completed online.

Vinton County is divided into three “Census tracts,” cutting the county into three sections. Census Tract 9530 consists of the northern and northwestern portion of the county, and it had a self-response rate of 56.1 percent. Census Tract 9531 takes up part of central Vinton County, and it had a response rate of 58.5 percent. Census Tract 9532 consists of southern and eastern parts of the county, and it had a response rate of 50 percent.

The Census Bureau also reported that McArthur specifically has a response rate of 62.3 percent, the highest in the county. Hamden had a self-response rate of 50.1 percent. Other villages in the county weren’t considered Census bright spots: Wilkesville had a self-response rate of 34.9 percent, and Zaleski was ahead with a self-response rate of 37 percent.

The final self-response rate for Vinton County during the last Census, held in 2010, was 63.9 percent. The remaining portion of the population was visited by Census takers.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, non-response follow-up should occur from Aug. 11 to Oct. 31.

Southeastern Ohio counties are still lagging behind the state’s average self-response rate of 66.6 percent. The Census Bureau reports that roughly 51 percent of these self-responses were completed through the Internet option.

Athens County reported a 58 percent self-response rate. Gallia County has a response rate of 59.1 percent; Meigs, 57.3 percent; Jackson, 60.9 percent; Hocking, 59.5 percent. Ross boasted the highest self-response rate in the area, coming in at 62.9 percent.

Ohio has a self-response rate that is significantly higher than the national average of 62.1 percent.

Self-response rates may be impacted by operational adjustments due to COVID-19, but updates for Ohio have been frequent.

In March, an invitation to respond to the 2020 Census and possibly a reminder letter appeared in the county’s mailboxes. The Census timeline, however, continued for those who haven’t completed their Census questionnaire. A final reminder postcard was sent to area residents in late April.

Population totals gathered through the 2020 Census will be used to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ohio currently has 16 seats. Census data also officials forecast future transportation needs, determine areas that are eligible for housing assistance and rehabilitation loans, and locating areas in need of facilities for children, the elderly and those who are developmentally disabled.

Additionally, Census data is used to determine methods critical to emergency planning, preparedness, and recovery efforts for emergency situations. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, American Community Survey data is being used to help identify communities with large at-risk populations, such as elderly populations.

The U.S. Census Bureau must submit state population totals to the president by Dec. 31.

sdawes@vintoncourier.com; @sydneydawes_95

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