COLUMBUS, Ohio — To say the 2020 Census is important is an understatement.

  • The government is required to conduct a census once every 10 years
  • In Ohio, the census affects everything from how much money we get for schools and roads to our representation in Congress
  • Invitations will be sent in the mail for you to respond by phone or online

Governor Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) made it a priority for his administration and created a statewide commission to make sure everyone in Ohio is counted.

It’s not just money at stake, but a voice in Washington, as well.

“One less Congressional seat for Ohio is one less Ohio voice touting Ohio values and national decision making. And the second reason why the census is so important to the state is that the census helps determine the distribution of more than $675 billion every year from the federal government,” said Director of Development Services Agency Lydia Mihalik. 

Those federal funds help pay for school lunch programs, infrastructure, healthcare and public safety, to name a few. 

One person missed affects Ohio over the next ten years — especially when it comes to children.

Carol Hector-Harris is with the U.S. Census Bureau. She says in the last census count in 2010, 1 million children under the age of five weren’t counted. This time around they're teaching students and parents through the Statistics in Schools program.

“The Statistics in Schools program raises awareness among children about the census and what it means. And they'll take that message home. And, so when their parents or whoever it is who they live with, when they sit down to do the census, those kids are going to make sure that they're counted,” said Hector-Harris. 

Starting March 12, invitations will be sent in the mail for you to respond by phone, or, for the first time, online.

The official census is white and blue, and comes with a 10-digit User ID and PIN, so don’t be fooled by fakes.  

“Certainly, there have been mailers that have been issued over the last month or so that kind of look like the census, but they're actually affiliated with a political party. And so, we want folks to keep an eye out for official census documentation that's going to be arriving in the next couple of weeks and it will have the official census logo on it,” said Mihalik. 

If you haven’t responded by April 8, you’ll get a paper form in the mail to fill out and return. And then, from May to July, if you still haven’t responded, a census worker will follow up in person. 

“Make sure that you count. Make sure you count everyone, because you and everyone matters,” said Hector-Harris. 

By law, everyone is required to be counted in the census and your answers, including your citizenship status, cannot be used against you in any way. 

There are still thousands of part-time census jobs available throughout the state. Visit the U.S. Census 2020 website for information on how to apply.