Group worries about funding issues following challenges with Ohio’s 2020 Census

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With the pandemic keeping people isolated, community groups are already struggling to make sure everyone is counted

(WKBN) – Ohio’s 2020 census is shaping up to be one of the most difficult years to date.

With the pandemic keeping people isolated, community groups are already struggling to make sure everyone is counted.

The U.S. Census Bureau currently has a new plan ready to go, but some experts say it could make the overall goal even harder to achieve.

The Census is usually done by in-person methods. There are different events held all over the state to help get people to actually do that, but with people quarantining, that has proved difficult.

Now, new guidelines released by the U.S. Census Bureau are changing things yet again.

Field efforts and self-response options will now stop on September 30 — amonth ahead of schedule.

Some say this isn’t a good thing.

“To cut the door knocking, which are efforts that are going to those under-counted populations, just kind of exacerbates these problems,” said Katherine Ungar, policy associate of the Children’s Defense Fund — Ohio.

Those, like Ungar, say cutting the effort short could lead to funding cuts in those areas.

In a statement, the U.S. Census Bureau’s director said the “new plan reflects our continued commitment to conduct a complete count, provide accurate data, and protect the health and safety of the public and our workforce.”

Groups like the Ohio Census Advocacy Coalition are now left scrambling to get Ohioans counted, however, especially minorities and young children who are already considered undercounted.

“Those efforts were all going to be in-person events, a lot of contact with human beings, which has all obviously changed since the pandemic hit,” Ungar said.

The 2020 Census will control congressional representation, federal funding and state projects for a decade. Even though this is an unprecedented time, there will be no do-over.

The coalition hopes that Congress will act and get Census workers more funding and more time to complete the 2020 Census

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