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PA Pushes for Census Participation

It’s 2020 which means it’s time for the US Census and on January 13th, Governor Tom Wolf’s administration joined state officials to urge Pennsylvanians to participate in the census this year.

“Whether you’re Amish or English. Whether you’re in the rural communities [or] the urban centers, I mean what happens in the Census counts today but it counts particularly for the next ten years in terms of investment. We have communities that are still waiting on simple things like broadband and water treatment systems and education. The list goes on. And all of that is a factor of being counted as part of our Census.” – Russell Redding, Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

The US Census tracks the changes in community demographics and determines how many seats Pennsylvania gets in the US House of Representatives. It determines how much federal funding Pennsylvania receives for crucial programs.

“Pennsylvania relies on federal funding that is linked to Census data in order to support our medical assistance and our CHIP programs which together provide healthcare to over three million low-income Pennsylvanians.” – Teresa Miller, Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

“26.8 Billion dollars amounts to around $2,000 per Pennsylvanian. That means for every person we don’t count in the 2020 Census, we lose $2,000 in federal funding per year…” – Jerry Oleksiak, Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry

That adds up to your community losing about $20,000 per person over the next decade, before the next Census in 2030.

“Even a very small level of undercount has big implications. If we undercount just 1,000 Pennsylvanians, that means we lose out on two million dollars every year. We simply can’t afford and Pennsylvanians, their families and their communities can’t afford to be undercounted.” – Jerry Oleksiak, Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry

During the rally, Second Lady Fetterman announced her statewide Census tour set to launch later in January. The tour will last three months and the stops will include Philadelphia, Centre, Erie, Allegheny, Lancaster, and Luzerne counties.

“We’re kicking off a tour. We’re going to be hitting all the hard to count counties, meeting with the folks on the ground, explaining why this is so important, and helping them through that process. So, I’m looking forward to visiting a lot of the counties and meeting a lot of people.” – Second Lady Gisele Fetterman

According to the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, most households will receive their Census invitation in the mail by April 1, 2020 and residents can respond to the form by mail, by phone, and for the first time ever, online. Households in remote areas or which use a PO Box will be visited in person by a Census taker. All answers to the Census are kept anonymous, are protected under federal law, and cannot be used against an individual. For more information, you can visit pa.gov/census.

“This is something that we all have a part in and we can all have a part in changing it. Once you understand how that impacts Head start, how that impacts CHIP, housing, I mean it impacts everyone. Even if maybe it doesn’t directly impact you, it impacts your neighbor and we should care about all Pennsylvanians.” – Second Lady Gisele Fetterman

For more local stories, events, and to check out all five of our local channels, please go to matthaslamproductions.com/tv. I’m Matt Haslam reporting for MHP TV.