By Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh/Berks)
Every 10 years, the federal government conducts a census as mandated by the U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 2 that is used to gather important data about the American people and the economy. We have counted our population every 10 years since 1790.
Specifically, the federal government counts the number of people in each state to help determine how many seats each state gets in the U.S. Congress and how to distribute more than $675 billion in funding to states, counties, municipalities, school districts, and social service programs and organizations.
Being counted in the Census helps to improve our communities, roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, fire and police departments, parks, playgrounds, and more.
Starting in mid-March, Census letters will be mailed. For the first time, people can respond to the Census online. There will also be a toll-free number so residents can share their information verbally. The traditional method of filling out the paper questionnaire will also be an option.
In May, the Census Bureau will begin following up in person with homes that have not yet responded to the Census.
Anyone who needs help to fill the form out is welcome to call my office. Many libraries, senior centers and social service organizations have also agreed to be a resource.
Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous individuals who may take advantage of the Census this year and try to get your information through a scam. For this reason, it is important to know the Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails to request your participation in the 2020 Census, and they will never ask for your Social Security number, for bank account or credit card numbers, or for money or donations.
If someone visits your home to collect a response for the 2020 Census, you can verify their identity by checking to make sure they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date. You can also call 1-800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative to confirm their identity.
For more information about the U.S. Census, go to census.gov