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City Officials Hopeful That Akron Census Events Increase Participation Before Deadline

photo of Deborah Hannah
At Leggett CLC on Saturday, Deborah Hannah (left) got help filling out her census form -- something she's been meaning to do but hasn't been able to find help due to the pandemic. Akron officials are holding similar events over the next two Saturdays.

With the end of this year’s census coming September 30, the City of Akron is holding events to try to boost participation over the coming weeks – which is currently estimated at only 40 percent in some neighborhoods.

Over the weekend in South Akron, officials from the U.S. Census Bureau and the city set up tables at Leggett CLC with iPads, ready to help anyone fill out a census form. Mayor Dan Horrigan says the low turnout this year may be due to the coronavirus pandemic. But he’s hopeful that Akron has actually experienced an increase in population over the past decade.

“I think they’ve always been undercounted by the real number. Or, are they overcounted in some areas?”

Horrigan notes that the city’s population has held steady around 200,000 for the past two decades. But he adds that he does not want the final census numbers to just be an extrapolation using a formula, which could be inaccurate due to the number of variables involved.

Deborah Hannah lives nearby and says one reason for the low turnout may be the coronavirus pandemic.

“People are scared to go anywhere and they’re scared to do anything – it’s just terrible right now. I’m going to go call people and make sure everyone’s done it. It is very important; we need the money [and] whatever we can get for this community, we need.”

The next two public events are this Saturday, September 19, at the Helen Arnold CLC (450 Vernon Odom Blvd.) and the following Saturday, September 26, at The Well CDC (647 E. Market St.).