April 1 is known as “Census Day,” as it is the official reference date used for the US Census, conducted every ten years since 1790.
This year’s version will be different for a couple of important reasons.
First, this is the first federal census which has included the ability for residents to self respond not only via the mail, but also by phone and online. The form is also available in a total of 12 languages for the first time.
Second, the US Census this year is being impacted by a global and national pandemic. As a result, delays are underway for field operations. From the US Census Bureau:
“Based on continuing assessments of guidance from federal, state and local health authorities, the U.S. Census Bureau is suspending 2020 Census field operations for two additional weeks to April 15, 2020. The Census Bureau is taking this step to help protect the health and safety of the American public, Census Bureau employees, and everyone who will go through the hiring process for temporary census taker positions.
The Census Bureau continues to evaluate all 2020 Census field operations, and will communicate any further updates as soon as possible.
The 2020 Census is open for self-response online at 2020Census.gov, over the phone by calling the number provided in your invitation, and by paper through the mail.”
This past Friday, the Bureau release figures for the self-response rates for states, counties, cities, census tracts, and tribal areas. The national self-response rate was 36.2%, meaning that that percentage responded via the methods delineated above. For Ohio, the rate was 39.3%, a full three percent above the national average.
Most of north central Ohio exceeded that average. The following were the reported self-response rates for Richland County and its cities (NOTE – these numbers are correct as of Monday, March 31):
Of those who responded from Richland County, 31.8% did so online and 8.6% used another means. Ashland County had the highest rate of neighboring counties, 43.5%.