CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The 2020 Census is right around the corner and the capitol city of West Virginia is preparing for the count.
Jane Bostic, the special assistant to Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin, said the city is putting together a Complete Count Committee of public officials and volunteers to make sure every person is counted.
Bostic said she can’t emphasize enough how important the count that occurs every 10 years is for Charleston and the rest of the communities in West Virginia.
“It matters with politics, it matters with money, it matters with programs you are able to offer the citizens in your area based on some of the financing,” she said.
She added that the committee will work with the regional and federal census officials to make sure that Charleston is carrying the consistent message of what the consensus is and why it is important.
For the first time ever, the census will be online too. Bostic said part of the city’s upcoming campaign for the census will be on encouraging citizens to go online to complete it.
On a recent episode of 580-LIVE, former Charleston Mayor Danny Jones expressed the same sentiment that the census is as critical as ever.
“It is very important that you get yourself counted during this census because our finances depend on it,” he said.
“This effects a lot of the money that comes in here through our block grant program. It is extra difficult to count people who live in regions like this.”
Part of the block grant program comes from federal and state funding, which is always affected by the census Bostic said.
She added that changes to federal programming, housing, assistance to homeless, assistance for food and healthcare, and just an overall community impact will be felt.
“It helps local officials ensure public safety,” Bostic said. “Plan new schools and plan new hospitals. It helps real estate developers and city planners plan new homes in neighborhoods. It helps bring economic development when businesses are looking to bring their business to your area.”
According to the Associated Press, Kanawha and Cabell counties in West Virginia suffered the most population loss in the state from 2017 to 2018. The report stated Kanawha County experienced a 1.6% population loss in just a year or more than 2,800 people. Cabell County had a 1.3% loss or more than 1,200 people.
Complete Census numbers for 2020 won’t be revealed until Spring 2021.