Hellertown Borough Council met Monday and among other things voted to endorse a new “Census Counts Committee” which is being led by Moravian College’s Vice President of Planning & Research Carole Reese.
The new committee will focus on getting nearly all residents within all segments of the population in Hellertown to complete the census, spreading awareness that the census is taking place and providing information about how to complete it.
As of now, there are many planned means of spreading awareness.
“We want to make sure that there is information and a Census 2020 ‘presence’ at various community, business and organization events that occur between mid-November and March,” Reese said. “We will ask businesses to promote participation in the census through hanging posters and even adding information to invoices/customer bills.”
Reese said that if community organizations such as the Hellertown Lions, the Saucon Valley Community Center, churches and daycares post information about the census in their facilities it would be a huge help. The same can be said of assisted living facilities, where Reese said the committee could provide elderly residents with information and computer banks to help them participate online.
Another reason the accurate counting of Hellertown’s population in 2020 is so important is that federal funds given to the borough are determined through the census reports, Reese explained. For example, if the government provides funding for senior citizen support services, it will use official census data to determine the funding levels needed by each state, county and municipality. The same is true for determining educational funding for supplementary programs focused on children of a particular age range.
Following the 2010 Census, Northampton County lost about $225 million as a consequence of undercounting of its population, Reese said.
“Each person counted represents about $2,093 of federal funding for various programs and initiatives,” she told council. “We know geographically where the clusters of people who did not participate in Census 2010 are. The Census 2020 workers and volunteers will put more effort in those areas in order to encourage people to participate.”
Reese said one of the biggest challenges moving forward is that the “Census does not provide funds to help Census Counts committees to print posters and make copies of materials. We are hoping that businesses, organizations and individuals (will) chip in nominal funds to make this personal effort more effective.”