Officials share concerns about 2020 Census Report

Local News

One year from today is Census Day, when the government hopes to get an accurate count of the population of all states, including Pennsylvania. And, getting an accurate population count could mean the difference of millions of dollars in federal funding for the Commonwealth.

Pennsylvania receives billions of dollars in funding based on these census population counts which are done every 10 years. An inaccurate count could result in millions less for the state’s budget, which is why state officials are doing what they can now to make sure everyone responds.

One year from now, April 1st, 2020, is Census Day. 

Philip Lutz says it is “our reference day for counting everyone. Counting everyone once. And counting them in the correct location.”

Pennsylvania receives about $26 billion in federal grants based on the Census Population Count. For every uncounted person, the state loses about $2,000 of funding.

Sue Copella, Director of the PA State Data Center, tells us, “So, if you lose ten people in your community, that turns into a lot of money that a small community would lose.”

So this year, officials are making responding easier by allowing people to respond online and in twice as many languages.

But, a potential new question on the 2020 form is raising some concerns. It would ask residents if they are a legal citizen. The president on Monday Tweeting that without the citizenship question, the census report would be “meaningless and a waste of the billions that it costs to put together”.

But, Rick Vilello with the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development worries that question could result in some undocumented immigrants not participating.

Vilello says, “We see that as a challenge. We won’t determine the answer to that. That will be determined in the court system. And we will live with whatever the determination is.”

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments over that citizenship test later this month. 

The deadline to send the questionnaire to the printer is the end of June.

City of Erie Mayor Joe Schember also voicing his thoughts on the upcoming 2020 Census.

“The city’s funding is kind of tied to the city’s population. Also, our seats in Congress are also tied to the population and where they are located. We want to get an accurate count. I think if we do that, it will be well over 100,000. “

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