2020 Census: Important to the busines community too

The Dayton Area Census Office is located at 6 N. Main St., Suite 360. STAFF/BONNIE MEIBERS
The Dayton Area Census Office is located at 6 N. Main St., Suite 360. STAFF/BONNIE MEIBERS

State and local elected officials are not the only ones concerned about getting an accurate count in the 2020 Census — the business community also has a stake in the game.

Businesses use census data to determine where it makes the most sense to locate new branches or to build new distribution centers, U.S. Census Bureau officials said.

2020 Census: ‘We need to count everyone once and only once’

Carol Hector-Harris, media specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau - Philadelphia region, said businesses often rely on census population data to decide where to open.

“If businesses don’t know where the population is, they don’t know where it makes the most sense to locate,” she said. “Businesses are in business to make money, so the count is important to them.”

In turn, communities should care about getting an accurate count, Hector-Harris said, because if a new business locates in the community, there will be additional jobs, there will be shorter commute times for those employees and money spent at those businesses will stay in the community.

“The census tells a business who earns what and where,” Hector-Harris said. “If you want to sell Maserati’s, you’re going to set your business up in a community that the census data tells you can afford to buy that car.”

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Nikol Miller, the chair of the Dayton-Montgomery County Complete Count Committee, said not only do businesses use census data to make decisions on where to locate, but businesses also use the data to determine whether or not to expand and what kind of products to carry.

“An accurate census count and the accurate census demographic data is the difference between a Save-a-Lot and a brand new Kroger in your neighborhood,” Miller said. “Or even having a grocery store at all in your community.”

Erica Sieben, the assistant regional census manager for the U.S. Census Bureau’s Philadelphia Regional Census Center, said data gathered by the 2020 Census will guide decisions across a lot of different agencies on building infrastructure, putting together emergency response plans for disasters, and where to locate businesses and hospitals.

“Census data is invaluable and it’s used for just so many things,” Sieben said.

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