West Virginia not turning up to be counted; Northern Panhandle on the right track

West Virginia Headlines

Northern Panhandle getting counted above average

OHIO COUNTY, W.VA. (WTRF) —

West Virginia is in 48th place. We’re just at 47.2 percent self-response rate, and we’re only above New Mexico, Alaska, and Puerto Rico.

Dreama Pritt, Partnership and Media Specialist for U.S. Census Bureau in West Virginia

But, IN West Virginia, the Northern Panhandle is above the half-way mark; with certain counties expected to exceed the response rate from 2010.

Ohio County is at 59 percent right now which is above the national average. Hancock, Ohio, and Marshall counties are above the national average which is quite impressive. Wetzel County’s numbers are lower but that’s likely because the type of enumeration areas.

Dreama Pritt, Partnership and Media Specialist for U.S. Census Bureau in West Virginia

Because of the Pandemic, this is the first time West Virginia can get counted online or over the phone. But will this hurt the numbers in areas, like Wetzel County, where broadband isn’t bountiful? The representative for the census bureau says a new program delivering the census to hard-to-reach areas is countering this.

Census workers go to a physical location, update the census records to say yes, this is still a residential property, and then they leave a paper census form. West Virginia has the highest amount of update-leave in the entire country.

Dreama Pritt, Partnership and Media Specialist for U.S. Census Bureau in West Virginia

Ten minutes filling out your info, to change the course of the state for ten years; ensuring West Virginia is represented in Congress, to helping feed kids.

If we don’t count a student that’s in kindergarten right now, it’s ten years. We go ten years without funding for them until they’re counted again. So, a 5-year-old, if we miss them at 5, they’re not counted again until they are 15. We lose out on all the opportunity to help.

Susan Nolte, Human Resources Director for Ohio County Schools

Certain areas in our community like Clearview are excelling above average. However, others are still underrepresented.

The Triadelphia, Valley Grove community. And, again, I think a lot of that is PO Boxes and rural roots. So, I’m hoping we’ll see an increase in those numbers. Also, in East Wheeling, South Wheeling and the Island. So, we really need those people to come and get counted.

Susan Nolte, Human Resources Director for Ohio County Schools

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