The Census counts

By filling out the census, we’re stepping up for the city.

The Editorial Board
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 04:00:00 GMT

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The people of Toledo must wake up to the importance of the census. The city continues to lag dangerously behind in filing census returns — and the losers will be the people of Toledo. The census has an impact on every single person in this city — and an undercount will imperil an already struggling municipality badly.

Toledo’s response rate seems stuck at 56.7 percent.

Time to respond still remains, but it’s getting shorter. The need for a quick response is compounded by the recent decision of the U.S. Census Bureau to end data collection early — at the end of September rather than October.

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File that form now. The impact of an undercount for the city and the county could be devastating.

“Filling out the Census is so critically important. It is up there with civic responsibility for voting. It brings federal funds into the community,” Deborah Barnett told The Blade. She’s the census coordinator for the Toledo-Lucas County Complete Count Committee in 2019.

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz also is concerned about the low response rate. The mayor pointed out that Toledo lost millions in federal funding over the last decade because of an undercount.

Toledo’s response has a broad impact on Ohio. The state is expected to lose at least one seat in Congress after redistricting based on the 2020 census. That’s bad enough for Ohio’s national clout. To lose two seats would be a disaster. Fewer representatives means less money coming back from our federal tax dollars to Ohio.

Losing federal representation isn’t the only danger in a low census response rate. Ultimately, the count will help determine state legislative redistricting — the last thing Toledo needs is fewer members in Columbus. Yet, the large cities of northern Ohio, Toledo and Cleveland, are lagging badly in the count. Cleveland’s dismal response rate is lower than Toledo’s — at 47.7 percent. Rural residents, overall, are filing census forms at a much higher rate throughout the state.

If that form is sitting around on the kitchen table, or a desk or a chair, pick it up and fill it out — it only takes a few minutes and then drop it in the mail.

The census forms can also be filled out online.

Get counted. For yourself, your neighborhood, your city, your county and your state. Most of all, be counted for your fellow Toledoans.

By filling out the census, we’re stepping up for the city.