For Immediate Release
April 1, 2019
The Ohio Advocacy Coalition
Contact: Ashon McKenzie | firstname.lastname@example.org | 614-221-2247
OHIO CENSUS ADVOCACY COALITION HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE OF 2020 CENSUS ON CENSUS ADVOCACY DAY
OCAC Calls for Complete, Accurate Count of All Ohioans in 2020 Census
COLUMBUS – Today the Ohio Census Advocacy Coalition (OCAC) is participating in the National Census Day of Action to highlight the importance of a complete and accurate count of all Ohioans in the 2020 census. The Ohio Census Advocacy Coalition (OCAC) is a nonpartisan network of statewide nonprofit organizations, advocacy organizations, and trusted faith, business, education, and community leaders working to prepare for and conduct outreach to encourage full participation in the 2020 Census, with a focus on historically undercounted or ‘hard-to-count’ (HTC) populations.
“An accurate 2020 Census will be critical for the state of Ohio. Studies show that people in our rural areas and Appalachian counties, our urban centers, and our children throughout the state are at a high risk of going uncounted. An inaccurate count could disrupt the federal support our state receives for critical programs in Ohio like healthcare, transportation, and infrastructure funding and could cause us to lose one or more seats in Congress. We cannot rely on the Census Bureau alone; our preparation as a state needs to begin immediately,” said Ashon McKenzie, Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio Policy Director and Ohio Census Advocacy Coalition Executive Committee Member.
The U.S. Census Bureau has experienced some setbacks, funding shortfalls, and contentious litigation. Furthermore, for the first time, the Bureau will be using an online form to gather Census data which could create additional challenges for rural and urban residents and have a significant impact on their participation.
Ohio must form a statewide Complete Count Commission with members appointed by Governor DeWine and allocate funding to ensure a complete count of the state,” says Keary McCarthy, President and CEO of Innovation Ohio Education Fund.
The first hearing for funding for the Ohio Development Services Agency – the state agency that oversees the Census – will take place at 10AM on April 10th in the House Finance Committee.
“The funds provided by the legislature will provide us the resources to support communication and outreach efforts to reach Ohio’s hard-to-count populations and ensuring the state and all of its communities are fully prepared when the official count begins April 2020” said McCarthy.
The Census is vital to Ohio’s political representation and federal funding for the next decade. A mere 0.8 percentage change in population could mean the difference between Ohio keeping its seats or losing one or more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. It could also have a significant effect on more than $33.5 billion of federal funding distributed to Ohio based on the census count for important programs like highway planning and construction, transit grants, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, low- income housing, SNAP, foster care, business loans, and more. An inaccurate census would also be deeply disruptive to the state’s economy. Businesses rely on census data to make critical decision like where to build factories, offices, and stores.
“Ohio must take responsibility for accurate census data,” explains McKenzie. “That starts with taking the necessary steps to prepare and ensure that all of our residents are provided the best opportunity to participate in the 2020 Census and ensure a clear and accurate count.”