Federal Advocacy

2020 Census Participation

PANO supports adequate funding for the 2020 census to ensure that the process is fair and complete and will liaise with the PA nonprofit sector that it represents to support 2020 census participation. Every individual, nonprofit, government, and business depends on quality census data. PANO supports a fair, accurate count of all persons and therefore opposes the inclusion of a citizenship question. Under-counting individuals and demographic groups that nonprofits serve can lead to inadequate representation and funding.

Census Impact on Pennsylvania
The U.S. Constitution requires a count of all people living in the United States every ten (10) years. The census ensures fair political representation and data that community leaders rely on to make good decisions about schools, hospitals, housing, and other community needs.

Conducting an accurate census has always been difficult. Historically, some populations have been missed because they live in difficult-to-count circumstances, such as renting rather than owning, or living in non-English-speaking households. A fair and accurate census impacts Pennsylvania in the following three (3) ways:

  1. Resources: Community leaders rely on census data to make decisions about allocating resources in Pennsylvania for education, health care, housing, veterans, seniors, and more. Census data drives funding decisions for programs such as Head Start/Early Start, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), highway planning and construction, the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, and more. Pennsylvania currently receives $26.7 billion annually through census-backed programs. An under-count could cost our state hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
  2. Representation: The census drives the number of representatives that Pennsylvania sends to the U.S. House of Representatives. Pennsylvania could easily lose one or more representatives in the U.S. House—especially if the count misses key constituent groups such as children, people of color, immigrants, and others who have been historically under-counted. The Census also directly impacts state house and senate districts.
  3. Community Support: The census helps community leaders understand their own communities more clearly. For example, leaders not only know where people live, but what languages they speak, how much education they have completed, income levels, family makeup, racial identity, and more.

Reference: Keystone Counts Coalition, 2018

PANO supports the work of the Keystone Counts Coalition in their efforts to engage all Pennsylvania residents in the 2020 Census. Keystone Counts is a nonpartisan coalition of advocacy groups, service providers, and community organizations working together to build an education and outreach effort to ensure a fair and accurate 2020 census. PANO is putting a plan together to leverage our 1,000+ members to encourage census participation.

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