DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Leaders here are getting a head start on the 2020 census.
Monday at the Dayton City Hall, a group introduced the ‘Complete Count Committee.’ The collaboration between the city and Montgomery County aims to increase awareness and develop outreach strategies to ensure the 2020 census counts as many residents as possible.
“You name it, the census count touches it,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “It’s just so incredibly important to Dayton’s finances, to Montgomery County’s finances and to make sure we get an accurate count.”
The data collected once every decade determines a state’s Congressional districts, money for non-profits and schools and the allocation of nearly $700 billion in federal and state funding.
In previous years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducted its own outreach to raise awareness for upcoming counts. Mayor Whaley explained the city and county formed its own campaign when it became apparent resources would no longer be available at the federal level.
The Complete Count Committee is made up of representatives and volunteers across nine sectors, including government, education, faith-based institutions, transportation and housing.
“We’ve got a broad set of participants and members so we can make sure that we touch all of the various aspects in every corner of Dayton and Montgomery County so that we can get a complete count,” explained Joe Tuss, the Montgomery County administrator.
For the first time, residents will be able to fill out the census form online in 2020.
Committee chair and Greater Dayton RTA community relations manager Nikol Miller explained the online access could create just as much confusion as convenience. She said part of the committee’s responsibility will be explaining the methods, deadlines and information needed for the 2020 census.
Miller said the committee also hopes to clear up misinformation and focus on populations often missed by counts, such as children under five, college students and others facing economic, cultural or language barriers.
“You need to get people at the very grassroots level to understand how the census is taken,” Miller said.
The Complete Count Committee will design strategies and begin its efforts after a training meeting with the U.S. Census Bureau at the end of May.