Library Lines: Census, survey give residents voice

CORA SLACK
Cora Slack

Two important efforts happening now could have a huge impact on our community: the 2020 U.S. Census and Worthington's community coronavirus survey.

Both depend on your quick response; the deadline to complete the former is Sept. 30 and Sept. 15 for the latter.

I, along with my Worthington Libraries colleagues Annie Christensen and Kristin McCormick, am working to spread the word about the importance of both.

If you haven't already done so, take just a few minutes today to complete the census by calling 844-330-2020 or, for the first time in U.S. history, completing it online at my2020census.gov.

Don't have internet access? Let the library help. You can access free Wi-Fi outside any Worthington Libraries building. Take your device and sit on a bench or use it in your car from the parking lot.

Getting counted is a small task that makes a big difference. A complete and accurate census count is critically important, which is why your response is required by law. And while you are required by law to participate, the U.S. Census Bureau also is required by law to protect your answers. Your responses are used only to produce statistics. The census bureau does not disclose any personal information.

The census count determines our community's representation in the U.S. House of Representatives; is used to decide where businesses, schools, hospitals and public safety resources are located; and determines our fair share of $675 billion in federal funding.

The census affects funding related to child care and development, crime victims, disabled veterans, emergency food assistance, foster care, highways, homeless individuals, public housing, voting access for individuals with disabilities, wastewater disposal and much more.

As of early August, 60 million householders still were uncounted. These households are disproportionately poor, people of color and include very young children. If you are part of an undercounted population, it is vital to get counted in order to secure the funding and representation your community deserves.

Filling out your census questionnaire not only benefits you as an individual but also helps your neighbors, community and the entire state. If you haven't already done so, get counted and ask your friends and neighbors to get counted, too.

In addition to completing the census, please also consider taking the community coronavirus survey available at research.net/r/worthington-covid. Developed by local community organizations, including the library, in partnership with the city of Worthington, this survey will help community leaders determine the impact of the pandemic on residents and will help guide reopening plans.

Cora Slack is a librarian at Worthington Libraries and a member of the Ohio Library 2020 Census Committee.