To ensure participation in the 2020 U.S. Census is as thorough as possible, Bexley is in the process of forming a "complete-count" committee, Mayor Ben Kessler announced.
"Our No. 1 concern is making sure everyone's counted," he said.
The U.S. Constitution requires the federal government to conduct a count of the country's population every 10 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's website, census.gov.
Federal, state and local governments use census data for a variety of purposes, including determining how many representatives each state gets in Congress, where to build new roads and schools, and where emergency services are most needed, said Mark Boyd, a regional representative with the U.S. Census Bureau.
"I hope to partner with the city of Bexley to get the best, most complete census ever in the history of Bexley," Boyd said during a March 12 report to Bexley City Council. "The goal is to count everyone once, and in the right place."
The Census Bureau is encouraging communities to form complete-count committees to increase the accuracy of data collection, Boyd said.
"They are a volunteer committee of influential leaders and trusted voices ... from a cross-section of the community who understand the critical importance of the decennial census and who are charged with obtaining the most complete and accurate census possible," he said.
The Census Bureau suggests that complete-count committees include members of city councils and other local governmental bodies; schools and colleges; community organizations; business associations; and faith-based organizations, Boyd said. The committees will work to identify hard-to-count populations, such as homeless individuals, children under the age of 5 and individuals who don't speak English, he said.
The complete-count committees "overcome the barriers to participating in the census," Boyd said.
"They motivate people to self-respond."
In forming a complete-count committee, Bexley has joined municipalities such as Columbus, which also recently announced the formation of a similar committee, along with Franklin County.
Kessler said he has been working with the U.S. Census Bureau to form Bexley's committee and expects to finalize the committee's membership within the next month.
He said he expects Bexley's committee to include representatives from Jewish Family Services; the Developmental Resources Assets Resource Network, a nonprofit organization that provides support to Bexley families in need; and other community organizations.
"We'll advertise (meeting) times and get started" with planning this spring, Kessler said.
The U.S. Census Bureau has already identified at least one area of Bexley where the population may be hard to count, Kessler said.
"The southwest portion, with a higher apartment population, is going to be vulnerable to that" because of people moving in and out of the city, Kessler said.
For more information about the 2020 Census, visit census.gov.