While the state of Kentucky is ranked the 14th highest for their response rate on the 2020 Census, Madison County is following its decades-long trend of being undercounted -- and therefore -- under-funded.
According to SmartAsset, an online financial advising site, the commonwealth's total self-response falls at 60.1% as of May 4. However, the percent of those who filled out their Census online was much higher at 76.2%. This is the first year the Constitutionally mandated count has included online participation.
But for Madison County, the second highest county in the state for under-counting citizens, the response rate is still considered poor with only a 67.9% response rate as of May 18.
According to Billy Ackerman, county property value administrator and Complete Count Committee coordinator for the area, downtown Berea and downtown Richmond were among the worst areas for being undercounted.
And the numbers support his claim as the city of Berea is reporting a 68.8% response rate, and the city of Richmond only 59.6%.
Ackerman said although there was a lot of work to be done, the response rate so far is "encouraging."
However, the low count is something that is a pattern for the county according to previously recorded data.
In 2000, the Madison County had a 71% response rate for the Census before going door-to-door, and in 2010, that number increased to 76%, but is still considered poor.
For 2020, Ackerman says, obviously he would hope to see a response rate of 100%.
"The census controls how millions of dollars in funds are distributed for roads, schools, and non-profits, and Madison County needs to be counted," he told The Register.
His statement holds true once more as over $1.5 trillion in federal funds is allocated to states and their municipalities, based on population.
Time is still on the county's side, however, even though the April 1 self-response deadline has passed.
As everything has been impacted by the coronavirus, the 24th decennial count was no different when the self-response phase of the Census was extended into October of 2020.
Normally, Census response times would end in July. Moreover, nonresponse follow-ups, which are often conducted in person, are now scheduled to take place from mid-August through the end of October 2020.
This is not the only way the virus has impacted the Census and families ability to take it.
With individuals now able to be counted online and remaining "healthy at home," Ackerman believes both will help increase the numbers of those who are counted.
"I think the promotion from the Governor (Andy Beshear), Mayor (Robert) Blythe, Mayor (Bruce) Fraley and others through social media has provided an opportunity to "click" a link and get it done," Ackerman said. "Outreach has been a group effort among the community and school systems."
Ackerman said social media has been an effective tool in promoting the Census, but that some outreach opportunities have been missed for those that might not have access to online submissions.
"We still hope to partner with the library to encourage online responses," he said.
For more information about the 2020 Census, visit 2020census.gov.
Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.