Census Specialist Touts Ease, Safety and Importance of 2020 Census to Venango County

| August 14, 2019

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – After hearing a presentation from Dwayne Lehman concerning the 2020 United States Census, the Venango County Commissioners passed a resolution letting all citizens of the county know that it is their duty to fill out the census.

The 2020 Census will begin April 1, 2020, and, according to Lehman, a Partnership Specialist with the Philadelphia Regional Census Center, it is important that everyone fill out the census.

“It’s the mission of the census to count every person in the country, count them once and in the correct location,” Lehman said.

According to Lehman, a Complete Count Committee comprised of business, religious, educational and community members in each county across Pennsylvania are being put together to ensure that every person in the Commonwealth is counted.

He said that it is more likely that a person will fill out the census if they are reminded to do so or approached by someone locally as opposed to someone from the outside.

“If it is a trusted voice in the community, they are more likely to participate,” Lehman said.

Lehman said the focus of the committee is to let people know that the census is “safe, easy and very important.”

In addressing the ease of taking the census, Lehman pointed out that this will be the first time someone can fill out the census online.

“They can also still call in or use the printed out form,” Lehman said.

The safety part of the census is that all the personal information given on the census is protected by Title 13 and cannot be shared with any other government agency.

“There is no court that can order that information to be shared,” Lehman said.

As for the importance of the census, the census numbers affect a number of different things facing national, state and local governments.

At the federal level, census numbers are used to determine the number of representatives each state or Commonwealth gets in the United States House of Representatives.

At the state and Commonwealth level, the census determines how areas are represented in state or Commonwealth legislatures.

At both the local and state/Commonwealth level, the census helps determine how much money an area can receive.

According to Lehman, there is approximately $675 billion that is allocated back to state and local governments from federal monies, and the census is used to determine how much money each state/Commonwealth gets.

“That comes in a number of different programs including Medicaid, Medicare Part B, WIC (Women Infant and Children), highway funds and (other programs),” Lehman said. “Approximately 26.7 billion comes back to Pennsylvania. So, the goal of the Complete Count Committee is to get the best and most accurate count possible.”

Related story: Venango County Won’t See Federal Money for July Flood Damage

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