Mercer County stressing the importance of a complete count during the 2020 Census

MERCER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – The process of collecting data for the 2020 Census is set to begin in late March. Mercer County is stressing the importance of getting a complete count. 

 “Count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.” That’s the mantra for the 2020 Census and the message that was brought to Mercer County during the informational meeting on Thursday.

Mercer County does not want anyone left out of the count because less population recorded means less federal dollars that come in. 

“Without that economic stimulus and the people come and that constant investment, it makes it hard to overcome the hump,” Mercer County Commissioner Greg Puckett said. “It’s one of those things where it’s like you know, the rich will get richer. The poor could get poorer, so we’ve got to make sure we have that count so we keep getting those monies in to the best way possible.” 

Typically, the Census collects data by going door-to-door or taking the mail-ins, but this year participants can also complete it online.

Jessica Basham was at the meeting because as a local business owner, she says she knows the economic importance of getting the count. 

“I know that people who are looking at bringing businesses even like corporations and stuff like that, I know for a fact that certain organizations and companies won’t come into a community if they don’t have the right numbers, so if we don’t have the right count then we may be missing opportunities there,” Basham said. 

This is also why Mercer County is planning on forming a Complete Count Committee full of people from all over the county who will work to make sure everyone knows about the Census and everyone participates through education and spreading the word.

Not only are federal dollars at stake but also political relevance. 

“Florida’s going to get about an extra two to three, maybe four congressional seats,” Puckett said. “Same thing with Texas, but when West Virginia loses a potential seat, you become less significant on the federal scale so we need to make sure that every person is counted, try to keep that seat, try to keep our importance out there so that people know that West Virginia’s still here. We’re a viable community. We want to make sure that we have the best of what we have so getting that Census number is very important.” 

The Census is also looking to hire hundreds of employees within the county. The pay for Mercer County is $16.50 an hour and those interested can apply here. 

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.