It was a meeting of the minds today as community leaders came together to find ways to ensure Erie County gets an accurate count for the 2020 Census.
This committee is made up of community organizations, leaders, political figures, and faith-based groups.
As the Erie population grows and changes, Erie Community leaders want to make sure every resident is accounted for in the 2020 Census.
In an effort to make sure that happens, Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper and Mayor Joe Schember are co-chairing the ‘Complete Count Committee’.
Dahlkemper says, “That count is important for, certainly, our congressional districts, but I think even more so for the funding that comes for transportation, for schools, for all sorts of things that people are trying to do in our community.”
Dahlkemper added; historically in Erie County, certain groups have been unaccounted for, especially immigrants and younger children.
Dahlkemper says, “It’s interesting; children under five are typically undercounted… so why is that? How can we reach them? We’ve got to get into places, the daycare centers and the preschools and those areas to make sure those parents understand how important it is that they count all of their children.”
As some new Erie County residents may be concerned with the census revealing their immigration status, officials say that’s not the case.
Sean Silman, Partnership Specialist for the US Census Bureau, says, “In our headquarters in Philadelphia, all computers are not even facing the window. We go through extreme measures to make sure that nobody has any opportunity what so ever to see any possible data.
Silman echoes Dahlkemper’s thoughts on why it’s important to get the count accurate.
“In Pennsylvania, people are estimated at a $2100 value and if we do that math and if we miss 100 for this census for $2100 a piece. That’s $210,000 every year.”
Erie County citizens will also have the opportunity in 2020 to fill out a form online and be counted in the census.
The committee will meet again in about two weeks to go over strategies that will help educate citizens about the importance of the census.