Be Counted, Allegheny County: Why the Census Matters

Katie Phillips Access to Health + Wellness, Active + Engaged Residents, Advocacy, Diverse + Connected Region, Featured Advocacy, General, Opportunities for Success

The 2020 Census is fast approaching. Starting in mid-March, everyone who lives in the United States will be asked to fill out the U.S. Census, which officially kicks off on April 1. It is essential that everyone is counted in the Census, because the data collected is used to determine Congressional representation and allocate billions of dollars in federal funding to support schools, hospitals, infrastructure developments and other community-based services. That’s why PUMP is joining countless local nonprofits, community leaders, government partners, and others to ensure that every single resident in Allegheny County is counted. Over the next few weeks, PUMP will be sharing resources and information about why the Census matters.

PUMP believes that our region can become the most dynamic and diverse place for all. But in order for that to happen, every resident needs to be seen, empowered, and supported. The Census is an opportunity to learn more about everyone who lives in Allegheny County, so that we can better understand people’s needs.

If we do not get a complete count, Pennsylvania is at risk of losing:

  • Congressional representation: We could lose one or more of our 18 representatives in the U.S House
  • Federal funding: Pennsylvania “receives over $39 billion in annual funding from the 55 largest federal programs that rely on Census data to calculate funding” (Keystone Counts). Every person who is not counted translates to a loss in federal dollars.
  • Resource allocation from local leaders: Local leaders depend on census data to make decisions, including about how to allocate resources for education, health care, housing, veterans, seniors, and more, so inaccurate data will mean community needs are not met.
  • Community support: The Census is essential for helping “leaders and businesses identify emerging problems and opportunities, and plan good investments for a decade to come” (Keystone Counts). Without a strong understanding of who is part of our community, we cannot truly support our community.

A complete count will ensure that Pennsylvania and Allegheny County has the support and information needed to serve our diverse, growing population.

Completing the Census is easy. Between March 12-20, you will receive an invitation to respond online to the 2020 Census. You can also respond by phone or by mail. Over the following weeks, households that do not respond will receive reminder letters and postcards. From May through July, Census workers will follow up in person with anyone who has not responded.

PUMP encourages everyone in our network to #BeCounted in the Census and spread the word to your family, friends, and community. Together, we can ensure a complete count of everyone in Allegheny County.

Learn more about the Census – how it works, why it matters, and how you can get involved – at becounted2020.org.