Over the years, one of the claims I frequently hear as I travel our beautiful state is that rural Pennsylvania is invisible – that government doesn't consider the needs of rural people and communities. But the power to be heard, seen and considered starts with being counted. You have that power. It begins with completing the U.S. Census.
Our rural counties, especially in the northern part of the state, are among the lowest Census response rates in Pennsylvania. If are among those who haven't responded, that means you, your community, and your family may miss out on fair representation and the crucial public and private investment that come with it.
Every 10 years, the Constitution requires the federal government to take a census. The U.S. Census not only determines your representation in Congress, it gives government policy-makers at all levels and private sector decision-makers the information they need to build your local economy, create jobs and improve infrastructure. Things like roads, water and sewer systems, healthcare, food assistance, education, rental assistance, business loans, research, Cooperative Extension and broadband – the things that draw people to your area and keep them there – depend on information gathered in the U.S. Census.
Pennsylvania has 18 Congressional representatives. We used to have 19 but lost a seat after the 2010 Census. Our state gets $26.8 billion annually from just our 16 largest federally funded programs. That's about $2,000 per Pennsylvanian each year. That's money we may not get if every person is not counted.
Both government and private dollars that enhance quality of life in rural communities depend on knowing who lives in an area and what their needs are. Your response to the Census is how they get this information.
Your information is private and protected by law. It can only be used in statistics. Being counted can't hurt you.
Responding online is easy and only takes a few minutes. Simply go to my2020census.gov to complete the survey. Or complete the survey by phone at 1-844-330-2020.
The pandemic has had a profound impact on all of our lives. It has shone a spotlight on just how much we all rely on agriculture and related industries to feed and sustain us. The forest products industry and agriculture in Forest County helps fuel and feed Pennsylvania. To get those products to market, you need investment in roads, education and training, jobs and services – investment that only comes when you are counted.
Make your voice heard and your needs known. Complete your Census form by October 15. You and rural Pennsylvania do count. But it begins with you, so please make sure you're counted.