CLEARFIELD – The U.S. Constitution provides for a national census to be taken every 10 years. The next scheduled federal census is 2020.
Last night at the Lawrence Township Supervisors’ meeting Rick Buck, partnership specialist with the Philadelphia Regional Census Center, spoke with the supervisors and members of the public.
Buck is based in Johnstown and serves four counties, including Clearfield. He explained that the census is the foundation of a representative democracy and is the largest peace-time initiative taken by the federal government.
The federal census is important, Buck explained, because it is about power and money. The census determines representation in Congress.
Due to the results of the census in 2000, Pennsylvania lost two seats in the House of Representatives, and lost one seat after the 2010 census. Therefore, it is vital that every Pennsylvanian respond.
The census also results in how the federal government allocates funds to states and local communities for the next 10 years. The more people, the bigger the slice of the pie.
This year’s census will be different in that it will be easier than in the past. For the first time ever, residents can respond online or by calling a toll-free phone number. If they choose, they can opt for the traditional paper questionnaire.
This year there are only 10 questions on the census.
Buck also emphasized that any information provided is safe. The Census Bureau is prohibited from sharing any personal information with any entity.
In March of 2020, residents will receive an invitation to participate in the census. The deadline is April 1 to respond, and about two weeks after the initial invitation paper forms will be sent to anyone who hasn’t already responded.
After April 1, the bureau will send out hired census takers to go door to door and catch those who haven’t responded. The final figures are due to the president by Dec. 31, 2020.
Buck said residents can apply to work for the census now at 2020census.gov/jobs or 1-855-JOB-2020. The first jobs will come available in August of this year and in the Clearfield area they will pay $13.50 per hour.
Initial workers will count houses and verify addresses. Then the first count will begin by counting “group quarters” such as jails, nursing homes, dormitories and so on. Most will be hired to conduct the door-to-door census.
Buck said it is important for everyone to know this is happening, and to encourage their friends and family to participate in order to have an effect on Pennsylvania’s representation and federal aid.