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Posted on: March 5, 2020

Wayne Forms Committee to Ensure Complete Census Count

An image of a sleeping newborn baby and an adult hand.

HONESDALE -- Federal officials estimate that for every resident from birth to age 100+ who is not counted in 2020, means the loss of nearly $2,100 in federal funding every year for the next 10 years. Wayne County Planning Director Craig Rickard said an undercount of just 10 percent, or approximately 5,200 people, translates into the loss of nearly $110 million over the course of the coming decade.

He said young children – under the age of four – are the most under counted group, but there are challenges with senior populations and among immigrants and the poor. For that reason, the Wayne County Community Foundation is pursuing a grant to form a Complete Count Committee to help mobilize efforts to reach these communities with trusted voices.

Rickard explained that responding to the 2020 Census is easier than it has ever been, with opportunities for households to complete the 10-question survey over the phone, online or by traditional mail.

Colleen LaRose, an outreach specialist with the Census Bureau in Philadelphia, said households should begin receiving the survey in the mail from the Census Bureau in mid-March, at which time people can start going online or calling the number. Census Day is officially April 1, but she said the count will continue into the summer. LaRose emphasized that those who do not mail it back, log in or call will get a visit from a Census enumerator.

The Census is a housing survey and is designed to count people where they spend most of their time. LaRose said if you spend half the year in a warmer climate and half the year here, then you respond to the Census wherever you are on April 1.

“We only have one chance for a complete and accurate count,” LaRose explained.

Data collected during the 2020 Census remains confidential for 72 years. Workers at the Census Bureau face steep fines and even imprisonment for sharing you data. Your answers cannot be used for law enforcement purposes or to determine your personal eligibility for government benefits. 

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