SOUTH POINT, Ohio — For the first time, Tri-State area residents can complete the U.S. Census online.
South Point was selected as a regional office for 25 southeastern Ohio counties. Several census officials and U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, were on hand Thursday for the opening of the office at 1405 County Road 1, west of the South Point village limits, as the 2020 Census starts.
One thing stressed by Ronnie D. Tyree, director of the South Point office, is that the Census Bureau is still looking for people to work part time doing the census required by federal law every decade. It is one of eight regional offices in Ohio and one of 248 nationwide.
Tri-State residents should receive information via the mail starting March 12 on how they can participate in the 2020 Census, which plays a factor in how $645 billion is distributed annually, said Philip Lutz, deputy regional director of the Philadelphia Regional Census Center.
Residents can participate in the census online, by phone or via U.S. mail. Residents should receive information in the mid-March mailing on how to participate online for the first time. That mailing from the Census Bureau will contain a code to tell people how they can respond, Lutz said.
Once a household gets the notification, one person in the household can go online and respond to the census questions. Officials say all responses are confidential and can’t be shared with law enforcement.
If people don’t respond to that March mailing, census workers will begin going to homes seeking responses to the census questions, he said.
The local office is seeking about 12,000 employees to cover the 25-county area in southeastern Ohio. The job pays from $14 to $21.50 per hour, Tyree said. People can apply for the jobs at 2020census.gov/en/jobs.html, he said. Census workers will start going door-to-door in April or May to those who don’t immediately respond to the mailings.
This will be the 24th time a census was held in this country. The first was in 1790. Census officials asked local officials to get the word out and ask people to fill out the census questionnaire. This time, the census will be given in 13 languages, Lutz said, and efforts will be made to count homeless residents across the country.
“We’ll work with service providers, transitional housing, shelters and soup kitchens starting in March,” he said. “We will work with the people who work with the homeless to get a correct count.”
Johnson said Ohio is on the bubble of states that could lose a congressional seat based on the outcome of the census.
“The population is changing,” he said. “People are retiring and moving south.”
Chris Chiles, director of the KYOVA Interstate Planning Commission, was among the folks asking for people to respond to the census. He said it could lead to more federal dollars for road projects and more infrastructure.
“We’re honored they would think of South Point for such an important office,” said Mayor Jeff Gaskin.