Census 2020 deadline looming, Lehigh Valley officials express concern about response rates

Written by on September 1, 2020

Census 2020 deadline looming, Lehigh Valley officials express concern about response rates

By Genesis Ortega

September 1, 2020

The Census Bureau announced Friday that as early as mid-July, door knockers are set to visit some U.S. households that have been asked but haven’t filled out a 2020 census form yet.

With a month remaining to fill out Census forms – Lehigh Valley city officials are expressing concerns in their ability to count every single resident.

During a recent virtual roundtable discussion, Valley mayors addressed census challenges that may ultimately undercut the cities by millions of dollars over the next 10 years.

Allentown mayor Ray O’Connell says the city still has a long way to go in completing a full Census count.  O’Connell says there is a poor response rate in some of the lower income neighborhoods in the city – an issue which also presented a challenge for the city in 2010.

“To our city it’s $2,100 per resident that’s counted – that’s millions and millions of dollars over the next 10 years when we go from 2020 to 2030 – again we’re at a 61 percent response rate. We have to do better,” said O’Connell.

Trailing behind Allentown is the City of Easton.  Mayor Sal Panto says the city is doing everything it can but the new deadline has made things more challenging. 

“We’ve had billboards up on Route 22, we’ve had sidewalk hopscotch – where kids can remind their parents to do the Census,” said Panto.

Bethlehem leads the Lehigh Valley in terms of completion efforts – with a self-response rate of nearly 70 percent, ahead of the Commonwealth and even the national response rates.

Learn more about how to participate in the Census and hear more from Lehigh Valley experts we interviewed as part of our Census 2020: Why It Matters series.

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