Coronavirus creates Census concerns in Bowling Green and other cities

Published: Apr. 2, 2020 at 7:06 PM EDT
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Like many places, Bowling Green is feeling the effects of COVID-19. At BGSU, campus sits silent after nearly all students moved out when coronavirus shifted classes online.

"It's a pretty big point of concern for us," assistant municipal administrator Joe Fawcett said. "This is a unique situation."

With roughly 31,000 people, college students make up about half of Bowling Green's population. In a Census year, city leaders are worried about getting an accurate count.

"A global pandemic didn't kind of come into the situation, as far as our problem solving," Fawcett said.

Fawcett said the city is in touch with

to ensure students who live in dorms get counted and asking those who live in town to list BG as home.

"If they live off campus, then they should take the census online and use their Bowling Green address since a majority of the year they're here," Fawcett said.

While it may not seem important, Fawcett said getting an accurate count plays a big part in funding city services, public transit and other programs. It even plays into representation in Washington D.C.

"If you're not counted then communities can lose out on thousands of dollars," BGSU sociology professor Wendy Manning said.

Because of COVID-19, the

has suspended in-person interviews and reduced call center staffing. With a limited presence, Manning said it's even more important now to seek out the Census by mail and online.

"It is critical in terms of establishing where our population lives so we can provide better resources," Manning said.

At a time when critical services are being used, leaders said completing the headcount now secures important resources for the future if something like coronavirus hits again.

If you have questions about the Census or want to fill it out,