Important for everyone to participate
Results of the 2020 Census will be especially important to West Virginians. With the rest of the nation growing in population, our decline means we could lose one of the three members we now have in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Not enough Mountain State residents are responding to the Census. Earlier this summer, fewer than 50% of households in our state had answered the Census questionnaire, either online or by mailing back the form sent to them in the mail. Our state was tied with New Mexico for the worst response rate in the nation.
Much more than representation in Congress is at stake. Many programs use population numbers to determine federal funding to cities, counties and states. Assistance to public schools can figure into the equation, too.
Fewer people means less money coming here from Washington. To put that in personal terms, how would you like it if cuts in federal funding meant your taxes had to increase to maintain existing local government services?
COVID-19 had a dramatic effect on the Census process, and will continue to do so. Timelines for collection and processing of Census information have been extended. The schedule for obtaining responses — by personal contacts, if necessary — has been extended into the fall.
West Virginians traditionally have been slow to respond to Census queries, if they do so at all. During the last Census, in 2010, the response rate in our state was below 60%.
When Census analysts are unable to use actual responses to issue their population statistics, they have to resort to estimates. With all due respect, that means educated guesses.
Do we in the Mountain State want to have to rely on speculation by someone in Washington as to how many people live here?
Surely not. If you have not responded to the Census yet, we urge you to do so as soon as possible. A good way to start is by going to the census.gov website.
This is important to each and every person in our state — including you. Get it taken care of now.