Today is National Census Day. During these unprecedented times it is easy to lose sight of life before COVID-19, and it is hard to imagine life once this pandemic ends. Yet we must remember there are many ways to help our community stay healthy and vibrant as we move forward together.
The census is completed every 10 years and collects data that is used to determine political representation and how much federal funding comes to our community. Estimates show that for each person not counted in Ohio in 2010, there was a loss of $12,000 over the last decade. The results of the census also impact our daily lives in many ways. The business community uses the data to make decisions about where to locate and create jobs. Nonprofits use the data to measure the size of a problem, set priorities and measure progress. The census informs government decisions such as where to open schools, build roads and provide services. The media relies on the data to tell the story of our city. An accurate and complete count is critical for our future.
The Cleveland Foundation and other partners, such as The George Fund Foundation and the Ohio Census Advocacy Coalition, have provided $140,000 so far to 60 organizations serving the Greater Cleveland area. The grantees are resilient and working hard to transform a time of isolation into one of connection.
Take this moment of limited mobility to fill out the census. There are three ways to respond – online, by phone or by paper questionnaire. It takes less than 10 minutes, and assistance is available in various languages.
Help our community by responding to the census today. This is a fast and easy way to make a lasting impact. The cities that take ownership of the census will be the ones that are successful at achieving a full count and bringing needed resources to their community. Now more than ever we see the importance of collective action. While we use this strategy to overcome a pandemic, let us also apply it to the census count in our own community.