By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer
(Nov. 7, 2019) The Town of Berlin has joined other communities on Worcester County’s Complete Count Committee in an effort to increase participation in the 2020 census.
“I think people underestimate the importance of their data,” said Mary Bohlen, Berlin’s deputy town administrator.
The census, which is calculated once every 10 years, aims to count the number of people in the United States. The numbers recorded by the Census Bureau, a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, are used to determine the amount of federal funding, grants and additional aid that a community is eligible to receive.
Worcester County reportedly had a population of 51,454 people during the last census on April 1, 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s website.
While Bohlen said the Complete Count Committee is a Worcester County initiative, she added that town officials would work to spread awareness about the census’ importance by including reminders on the public access channel, Facebook page and monthly online newsletter.
“We want to all work together all the communities,” Bohlen said.
Bohlen said that several representatives attended a “preliminary meeting last Tuesday in Snow Hill. Committee participants included representatives from the county, state, area municipalities, and the U.S. Census Bureau, according to Kelly Henry, technical services division manager and the complete count committee coordinator for Worcester County.
Dave Engelhart, Berlin’s planning director, also said the county received a $20,000 budget for this committee. He also wants to involve organizations, including religious institutions and groups and senior centers in Berlin.
The purpose of the agency is to get more people counted in Worcester County. When referencing participation rates, Berlin Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood said the county has the “rock bottom lowest in the state of Maryland.”
“If they’re not counted, they don’t exist,” Fleetwood said.
In 2020, groups are expected to begin implementing their census promotion plans through community mobilization and advertising campaigns.
In the meantime, Engelhart said committee members will work to develop additional ideas through a series of meetings.
“There’s more talking to be done,” Engelhart said.