Census poster photo

Barbara Miller/Observer-Reporter

This reproduction poster on display at the Washington County Planning Commission reflects the continuity of the constitutionally mandated U.S. Census.

Field work in advance of the 2020 U.S. Census has turned up about 4,000 address corrections in Washington County due to new construction, demolition, changes in street names and other factors that came into play during the past 10 years, according to the Washington County Planning Commission.

Those doing address canvassing are out and about checking for correct addresses while using a clipboard and wearing a U.S. Census badge for identification.

Meanwhile, participants in the Complete Count Committee of the United States Census 2020 met Friday at the Washington County Fairgrounds in a training session aimed at teaching participants how to plan, implement and publicize the 2020 Census.

Representatives from municipalities joined in discussing promotional techniques that can be introduced during municipal activities and at municipal meetings.

Lisa Cessna, executive director of the Washington County Planning Commission, which is the liaison between the federally mandated census and Washington County government, described the session as “census 101 brainstorming. Ideally, every municipality should have have a Complete Count program.”

For the first time in its nearly 230-year history, the U.S. Census Bureau will allow people being counted to answer questions online, but that doesn’t mean the process will be totally automated.

Enumeration will also take place by mail, over the phone and in person, so Census 2020 is now hiring workers for temporary positions. In Washington County, the pay is about $16 per hour.

The census workers’ recruitment website is www.2020census.gov/jobs. Those who prefer to inquire by phone can call 1-855-JOB-2020. When prompted, enter a zip code to be routed to an area census office.

The census strives to have workers stay as close as possible to their home areas.

Census 2020 also plans to participate in local job fairs, other public events and work through local CareerLink offices.

Census day – April 1, 2020 – is less than seven months away.

The decennial census is required by the United States Constitution to determine the number of congressional seats and Electoral College votes a state has. It is also used to reapportion state legislative districts, determine areas eligible for housing assistance and rehabilitation loans, plan for schools and design facilities for people with disabilities, the elderly and children.

The 2010 census determined the allocation of $675 billion in federal grants and loans to tribal, state and local governments. Local governments use census information for public safety and emergency preparedness.

For every Pennsylvania resident who goes uncounted, the commonwealth estimates it will lose $2,093 annually.

In the private sector, for example, it helps potential home buyers to research demographic information about communities. Corporations use the data for market research and to aid in their determination when seeking locations for commercial enterprises.

Current answers to census questions are protected by federal law. They can only be used to produce statistics.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June blocked a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census.

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