West Virginia still lags in census response


CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia is trailing the national average when it comes to responding to the 2020 Census.

West Virginia’s census response rate right now is 47.4%.

“I would say the number one issue is broadband,” said Jennifer Wells, Director of Our Future West Virginia. “We have so many people that are struggling with any access at all to the internet or even being able to take the census on your smartphone.”

Our Future West Virginia along with a collaboration of groups called Count Me in West Virginia is trying to get the message out working in part through fellowships that help spread information through word of mouth about the importance of the census.

“We are hearing about it on television and radio spots. It is always best to reinforce the message at least three to five times. So we are hoping the grassroots effort is actually doing that on the ground,” Wells said.

Another key obstacle is that the events they had planned to talk to people in person about the importance of completing the census had to be canceled because of COVID-19.

In some rural and hard to count communities census workers are going door to door with paper forms but still avoiding person to person contact.

“People can expect to have someone drop something off on their porch and they can fill it out and stick it in the mail,” explained Carey Jo Grace, Southern Regional Organizer for Our Future West Virginia. “They don’t need a stamp or anything.”

McDowell County has the lowest response rate right now with only 5.3% of residents completing the census. Wood county has the highest response rate.

“We are one of the states that receives the most back from the federal government and if we don’t have an accurate count we’ll lose out on all of that funding,” Grace said.

To see how your individual county is doing click here.

To complete the census online click here.

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