Venango County Census Participation Remains Low

| August 10, 2020

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – Participation in the census in Venango County remains low, which could have long-term effects on federal funding in our area.

“This is how they determine our state and federal funding,” Venango County Commissioner Mike Dulaney told exploreVenango.com.

Dulaney noted a particular way he has of explaining the importance of the census.

“You’re paying taxes regardless, but if you’re counted in the census, you’re giving your tax money more of an opportunity to come back here rather than going somewhere else.

“If we don’t report enough of of population, our tax money will go somewhere else. Short of voting, this is the best way you can make sure you’re counted and have it really mean something.”

Oil City Mayor Bill Moon noted the census effects funding that can make a big difference to local municipalities.

“It helps us get funding for roads, infrastructure, paving projects, and numerous things with the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) money. That’s all based on the census,” Moon explained.

“Don’t be afraid to fill out the census. They’re just looking for info to make sure they get everyone counted.”

Health care, emergency response, schools and education programs, and roads and bridges are all impacted by the 2020 Census. Responses determine a number of services, including where a hospital or clinic may be needed, mapping out where to distribute supplies and where vulnerable members of the public live in cases of emergency response, the types of educational programs may be available in a community and where a new road or bridge may be built. These are services that affect the day-to-day lives of everyone.

Clarion County Commissioner Ted Tharan noted the census numbers can have long-term repercussions.

“All of our funding will be based on this for the next ten years,” Tharan said.

“If we don’t get everyone counted now, it will affect our residents for ten more years. We have to make sure everyone gets counted so we can be eligible for federal and state funding, because that’s how they divide it up.”

Responding to the 2020 Census shape decisions about how billions of dollars in federal funds flow into communities each year for the next 10 years for critical services. It is more important than ever that residents are counted, as only 62.3% of Venango County residents and 26% of Forest County residents have responded to the 2020 Census.

The numbers remain similarly low in many surrounding counties, with 60.9% responding in Warren County, 62.4% responding in Crawford County, 68.0% responding in Mercer County, and 57.8% responding in Clarion County. Butler County is faring somewhat better, with 73.5% of residents responding.

While COVID-19 has changed how responses to the 2020 Census are traditionally collected, everyone is encouraged to take the time to respond.

“It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online at 2020census.gov, over the phone, or by mail — all without having to meet a census taker,” said Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham. “It’s something everyone can do while practicing social distancing at home to make a difference today, tomorrow and the next 10 years.”

For more information, visit 2020census.gov.


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