PRESS RELEASE: Ottawa County Census self-response rates up 4.1% over 2010

General Press Release

October 20, 2020  |  For Immediate Release

Ottawa County Census self-response rates up 4.1% over 2010

WEST OLIVE — Despite the outbreak of Covid-19 and an end date that was a bit of a moving target, the 2020 Census wrapped up in Ottawa County with an estimated self-response rate of 79.5%, up 4.1% from 2010. This once-a-decade roll call informs how more than $675 billion in funding for more than 100 federal programs are distributed. This Census was unique in that it marked the first time everyone in the U.S. could respond online. Having this option proved to be an advantage when door-to-door visits were delayed due to the pandemic. 

“America stepped up and answered the call: shape your future by responding to the 2020 Census,” Dr. Steven Dillingham, Director of the Census Bureau, said in an Oct. 19 Census Bureau news release. “Generally, better data comes from self-response, but after a decade of global decline in census and survey participation along with the challenges presented to communities by COVID-19, we had not expected to exceed the 2010 self-response rate. That we did Census Rates
is a testament to the American people, our nearly 400,000 national and community partners, and very importantly our staff.”

Through a grant from the Michigan Municipal League, Ottawa County worked in conjunction with Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance to encourage Census participation, provide educational materials to 52 different nonprofit organizations and groups, and conduct a social media information campaign. Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance and its contractors – Rich C. Lakeberg, Ottawa County Project Support Specialist; and Jody Immink, J. I. Consulting Services in Holland – answered questions, provided direction, formulated plans, and created and distributed materials to reach hard-to-count people, such as minorities, low-income and transient populations. And, working in conjunction with County, they curated a web page devoted to Census information with Ottawa County’s web portal.

“Through social media, phone calls, Zoom meetings, and old-fashioned handouts, we got the word out,” said Lakeberg. “At the end of our grant period, we successfully garnered the attention of more than 200,000 on Facebook, 100,000 on Twitter, and distributed more than 10,000 informational flyers.” 

Census data will continue to be calculated over the next few months, with a goal of delivering complete and accurate population counts as close as possible to the Dec. 31, 2020, statutory deadline. For data updates, visit

Media Contact:

Rich Lakeberg, Project Support Specialist  |  |  616-738-4852