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HONESDALE – Today, Wayne County Commissioners reminded residents to fill out the U.S. Census form and make sure friends, family, and neighbors are also counted. Residents can respond to the form by mail, by phone (844-330-2020), and for the first time, online until September 30, 2020.
“Wayne County has the fifth lowest response rate of the state’s 67 counties. We have time to change this, but not much,” noted Brian Smith, chairman of the Wayne County Commissioners. “If you haven’t completed your Census form online or by telephone, please do so now. Do not wait.”
The U.S. Constitution requires a census count every ten years, and documents population increases, decreases, and changes in community demographics.
“Those statistics are then used to make important decisions including how many seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives and determines the amount of federal funding Pennsylvania receives for essential programs and services, including healthcare, food assistance, education, transportation, housing, community development, and more,” said Commissioner Joe Adams.
“Every missed resident costs the county thousands of dollars in federal funding,” added Commissioner Jocelyn Cramer. “We know the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with our county’s lack of widespread internet, played a role in the ability to get Census forms filled out but we have a few more weeks to correct this and boost our response rate.”
Pennsylvanians who have not responded to the 2020 Census should expect a Census enumerator to contact them in person or over the phone. All Census workers must carry a valid ID badge with their photo, U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date. Residents can call 800-923-8282 to check if a visitor works for the Census.
Residents do not need to be concerned about safety and security, as Census answers can’t be used against an individual, and data security is managed by security experts operating at the highest levels. Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, the U.S. Census Bureau cannot release any information that identifies individuals, and anyone who breaks this law faces a fine of up to $250,000 and/or up-to five years in prison.
Your voice matters in shaping Wayne County’s future. For more information and resources related to the 2020 U.S. Census, please visit pa.gov/census.