The United States Constitution requires a census to be taken every 10 years. A primary purpose of this census, or counting of people living in the U.S., is to properly apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives among the 50 states. The census includes all persons living in the United States on Census Day, regardless of their citizenship or legal status.
2020 is a census year like no other. The global coronavirus pandemic has made the process much more challenging, particularly because census workers cannot safely go door-to-door to gather responses. In addition, a legal battle over whether citizenship status can be included on the census may raise fears that taking the census will lead to action by the government against families, individuals, or entire communities. As of late September, 96.2% of all Pennsylvanians — and 95% of all Americans — had responded to the census.
While participation rates in Pennsylvania are high, they still fall short of the goal of 100% response. The census is important for a number of reasons, including:
Redistricting (setting electoral districts based on where populations have increased or decreased. Each electoral district gets to elect one member of the House of Representatives. The boundaries for these districts are based in part on the population of a particular area.);
Federal funding (for things like schools, roads, and other programs); and
Business decisions (companies determine where to operate or offer products and services based on population).
By responding to the census, we can help to ensure that our community has full political representation, that we get the appropriate amount of federal funding, and that businesses continue to invest here.
The census directly affects the work of nonprofit organizations in your community — including Blackburn Center. In 2017 alone, Pennsylvania received $62,986,239,000 in federal spending that was guided by the results of the census. While the bulk of those funds went towards Medicare and Medicaid, $15,587,598,000 went to other programs.
Through our statewide organizations, federal funding, including monies allocated through the Violence Against Women Act, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act and the Victims of Crime Act, make up a crucial part of our annual budget. By filling out the census, you can help us continue to receive sufficient funding to provide a full range of services.
The 2020 census is quick and easy. You can take it online in under 10 minutes. All answers are kept confidential, and the information that you provide will be protected.
Help us get to 100% participation in Pennsylvania. Take the census today!