Grove City is preparing for the 2020 census.

"Our efforts from the city's perspective is to try to help get as accurate a count as possible in Grove City," development planner Jimmy Hoppel said.

Hoppel is serving as the city's point person in its effort to encourage residents to participate in the process.

The city has created a complete-count committee which includes the members of Grove City's Community Improvement Corp. and community leaders, he said.

"Our goal is to reach as many residents as possible," Hoppel said. "When people aren't counted in the census, it impacts all of us."

The U.S. Census Bureau has encouraged local communities to form complete-count committees, Hoppel said.

"We're not actually involved in conducting the census, but they believe local cities are more trusted by their residents and they want us to actively encourage our residents to participate and educate them about the benefits of participation," he said.

Local committees also can better connect with difficult-to-reach populations the census bureau has identified, including lower socioeconomic families and non-English speakers, Hoppel said.

"We all want to make sure that every person is counted," he said.

More than $675 billion in federal funds are distributed largely based on census data, Hoppel said.

"That's why it's so important for us to get an accurate population count in Grove City," he said. "It helps to make sure we're getting our full amount of federal funding."

The census determines the share of money that goes to help fund road and infrastructure projects, mental-health and medical-care services and free and reduced-price lunch programs for students, Hoppel said.

According to information from the census bureau, for every person missed in the 2020 count, a community in Ohio stands to lose $1,800 per year for 10 years, he said.

"Over 10 years, that's $18,000 per person, so it really can add up," Hoppel said.

The census is required under the U.S. Constitution to be held every 10 years, he said.

The census results are used to redraw legislative districts and to determine how many seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, Hoppel said.

Another impact relates to economic development, he said.

"Developers and businesses will use the census data to help prioritize and determine the communities in which they want to grow or locate," Hoppel said. "They use it to follow the changes in population and demographics."

The city has a video with information about the census on its website, grovecityohio.gov, he said.

In the coming weeks, the complete-count committee will be promoting the census through social media and working with different community partners including city organizations, churches, schools and the library -- to share information about how residents can participate, Hoppel said.

The Grove City Library will have a computer set aside beginning on or about April 1 for patrons to use solely to participate or find out more information about the census, assistant director Bethanne Johnson said. Johnson is also a member of the Grove City complete-count committee.

"The census bureau is really putting a push for people to go online to provide their information," she said. "They're hoping it will be easier to reach more people that way.

"We want to provide a computer at the library for people who may not have access to one at home or at work," Johnson said.

The census is a massive undertaking, and there are temporary jobs available at the local level to assist with the count, she said.

In Franklin County, the pay range for office and census-taker positions is listed as between $20 and $22 per hour, Johnson said.

More information is available at 2020census.gov.

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