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Still time to respond to Census

In case you needed another reminder about the importance of completing your U.S. Census form, you need look no farther than across the rive in Toronto.

Members of City Council on Aug. 24 stressed that providing the information is critical for many reasons. Maybe most important is that an inaccurate count could cost the Gem City its place as a city. And that could mean the loss of a significant amount of grant money and other funding that is available.

While Census information is vital for every community, it means a little more in Toronto, which has seen its population hover right around the 5,000 number it needs to maintain city status in Ohio for many years now. According to the 2010 Census, Toronto had a population of 5,091. That number had fallen to 4,923 people when population estimates were released last year.

The good news, as council members learned, was that, to date, Toronto residents have been doing well in responding to the Census. As of Friday, the response rate in Toronto stood at 71.1 percent, which is higher than the 68.8 percent reported in Ohio and the 64.6 percent reported across the country.

Toronto’s response rate is nearly equal to or better than the rates from communities throughout the region. Wintersville, for example — a village that has been counted at just below the 5,000 number for many decades — has a response rate of 74.7 percent. The rate in Cadiz is 62.4 percent and the rate in Richmond is 61.4 percent. Steubenville lags far behind, with a response rate of just 56.8 percent.

In West Virginia, where the statewide rate is 55.5 percent, Weirton’s response rate is 71.7 percent.

Of Brooke County’s municipalities, the rate in Wellsburg is 67.9 percent, while the rate in Follansbee is 67.7 percent.

In Hancock County, Chester has seen 57 percent of its citizens respond, with New Cumberland having a 55 percent response rate.

If you have not filled out your Census form yet, you still have time to do so.

You also can submit the information at 2020census.gov or can call (844) 330-2020. Census workers are canvassing the region to gather information from those who have not yet responded,

Providing information in person will lead to the most accurate count, officials have explained. But if that doesn’t work, Census workers will be forced to use general information, such as talking with neighbors or gathering information from government records, and that could lead to an inaccurate total.

As we have written before, Census numbers are critical — they determine how much state, federal and county money comes into a town. They also are used to determine representation at the state and federal levels.

The deadline for participating in this year’s Census is Sept. 30.

If you already have submitted your information, good for you. If you have yet to do so, now is the time.

Members of your community are counting on you.

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