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Census Deadline Looms - Maybe

Bill Rinehart

Greater Cincinnati officials are urging people to complete their census forms before Sept. 30, even though a federal court in California could extend that deadline based on a recent lawsuit.

As of Friday morning, Hamilton County's self-response rate, or voluntarily completion of the census, was 67.4%.  That compares to a final self-response rate of 67.2% in 2010. 

In Cincinnati, 55.5% have voluntarily responded to the census this year, which compares to 59.1% in 2010.

Those who don't self-respond will be visited by a census taker.

With all responses, census maps report between 75% to 96% completion in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana.

Hamilton County Commission President Denise Driehaus said last week based on the self-response rate and door-to-door enumeration at the time, there were about 64,000 people who still needed to be counted in the county out of a total estimated population of 800,000.

"We know that for every person that's not counted, we lose $1,800 in federal funding," Driehaus said. "That's funding for schools, for roads - think the Western Hills Viaduct - and hospitals. Sixty-four thousand times $1,800 over 10 years is $1.1 billion lost if we don't get counted."

And she was more concerned about people inside Cincinnati who have not completed the census.

"Inside the city of Cincinnati, the response rates are down 3%," Driehaus said. "We need a big push to show the growth that we know is happening in the county and especially in the city of Cincinnati."

As of Friday morning, these were the self-response rates for surrounding counties:

  • Butler 72.9% (72% in 2010)
  • Warren 79.1% (76.5% in 2010)
  • Clermont 75.5% (73.5% in 2010)
  • Boone 78.8% (74.6% in 2010)
  • Kenton 72.8% (71.9% in 2010)
  • Campbell 72.7% (69.8% in 2010)
  • Dearborn 74.8% (75.2% in 2010)
  • Ohio 69.9% (67.8% in 2010)
  • Switzerland 57.7% (54.6% in 2010)
  • Franklin 70.3% (73.1% in 2010)
  • Ripley 70.3% (67.8% in 2010)

Meanwhile, the deadline for the census work to be complete could be extended. 
NPR reported last week that a federal judge in California ordered "the winding down of the 2020 census must remain on hold nationwide through Sept. 24, at the latest."

The Trump administration had said in July that counting would end by Sept. 30. 

But NPR reported "a coalition led by the National Urban League continues a legal fight to provide the U.S. Census Bureau with more time to tally the country's population and review results."

Those groups are asking that counting continue through Oct. 31.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.