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Senator Casey urges cooperation in latest census regardless of coronavirus pandemic

U.S. Sen. Robert Casey, D-Scranton, urged the public’s cooperation in the 2020 Census to help determine accurate population figures across the state.

Casey and U.S. Census officials noted the challenges that are apparent in the decennial count process during a teleconference with the media Monday.

“We can’t allow anything to stand in our way,” the lawmaker said.

Information collected in the Census is so very important in deciding distribution of government resources to states, he noted.

For each person not counted, it means a loss of $20,930.

“So, it is critical for our state that we make an accurate count,” he said.

Casey and Census officials said the coronavirus has changed their approach to counting people.

Public informational sessions to discuss the importance of the Census process have been canceled to avoid group settings.

“We did an AARP teleconference call. It was very well received,” Paulette Gilfoil, U.S. Census 2020 Complete Count Committee, said. “The social media campaign is quite extensive.”

Casey said the especially difficult challenge of determining accurate figures for minorities, including under-served and non-English speaking populations who fear being counted.

“The Trump administration has made these populations harder to count,” he said.

He noted the failed attempt by the White House to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census following a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Norman Bristol Colon, executive director, Complete Count Commission, said Latino populations tend to be vastly under-counted in the state.

“We have to make sure they are counted,” he said.

“Under-served neighborhoods have been undercounted leading to a large disparity in resources being allocated,” Casey said. “We have to concentrate vigorously on this population.”

He said the importance of the Census can’t be lost in the daily attention given to the coronavirus pandemic.

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