▪FEATURE ARTICLE: – Census 2020: Why Should This Be Important to Me?

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CENSUS 2020: WHY SHOULD THIS BE IMPORTANT TO ME?

Kathleen M. Martin, Esq., CELA

You may have heard that 2020 is the year to hold the Census which the U.S. Constitution mandates be done every 10 years. But why should this concern any of us? Keystone Counts is a statewide coalition of advocacy groups, community providers, and service organizations who joined together to build a community outreach and education effort for a fair and accurate census 2020 census. (See more at https://www.keystonecounts.org/). This organization provides information and advocacy as they have been working for the last three years to provide information and to mobilize an education drive to make sure that all Pennsylvanians are counted.

All persons in the United States, regardless of immigration status, color, age, income status, and location must be counted. The census is a daunting task with many challenges, which resulted in the 2010 census missing at least 1.5 million U.S. residents. Pennsylvania is the second most vulnerable state for being undercounted in the nation. But what does an undercount mean to all of us in Pennsylvania?

An undercount in Pennsylvania could result in our losing one or more of our 18 Congressional representatives, as well as one or more of our electoral votes. There will also be a direct impact on how the new PA state house and senate districts are re-drawn in 2021. The Commonwealth of PA receives over $39 billion in annual funding from federal government programs that rely on Census data to calculate funding. Historically, 35 percent of the Commonwealth’s total operating budget comes from federal funds. An undercount will shrink funding which then impact the support to community needs. This includes programs such as Medicaid, SNAP, Section 8 housing, highway planning and construction, LIHEAP, Head Start/Early Education programs, CHIP and many more. An undercount results in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars for those who need it the most. Furthermore, the census results assist us in understanding our communities and who lives in them more clearly, so that community leaders and businesses can identify emerging problems and opportunities.

Another challenge in 2020 is that the Census is transitioning to a largely digital format. This presents additional concerns in counting those with no broadband internet access or those who lack the skills to complete the forms. There will be other ways to be counted but distrust of government, lack of knowledge of the importance of the census, concern about confidentiality of information, as well as those who simply ignore the “summons” can result in an inaccurate count that we will live with for the next ten years.
You can help by getting the word out as to how important Census 2020 is to all of us. Participate in the census yourself and encourage all you know to do the same. Census 2020 is looking for field workers to reach those who otherwise might not be counted. Make sure everyone counts in Pennsylvania.

Upcoming Events

David A. Megay, Esq., speaking at a Chester County Night School Seminar at Owen J. Roberts Middle School, 881 Ridge Rd., Pottstown, PA on 3/31/2020 from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. entitled “Ask the Lawyer: Starting and Operating Your Own Business” (the pros and cons of, and legal issues in, starting and operating your own business, the benefits of forming your “business team,” the different types of legal entities, the need for partnership/shareholder agreements, how fictitious names work, and other legal details regarding owning and operating your own business) (contact Chester County Night School at 610-692-1964 or online here).

David A. Megay, Esq., speaking at Chester County Night School Seminars at Owen J. Roberts
Middle School, 881 Ridge Rd., Pottstown, PA on 4/28/2020 from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. entitled “Ask the Lawyer: Buying and Selling Real Estate in Pennsylvania” (legal issues regarding buying and selling real estate, both with and without the involvement of a real estate agent, including common issues and pitfalls) (contact Chester County Night School at 610-692-1964 or online here).

Kathleen M. Martin, Esq., CELA, speaking at Chester County Night School Seminars at Stetston Middle School, 1060 Wilmington Pike, West Chester, PA on 3/24/2020 and at Owen J. Roberts Middle School, 881 Ridge Rd., Pottstown, PA on 4/14/2020 from 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. entitled “Elder Law: How to Protect Your Assets and Plan for the Cost of Long Term Care” (get common questions answered, such as “should I transfer our home to the children” or “do I need a trust?) (contact Chester County Night School at 610-692-1964 or online here).

Kathleen M. Martin, Esq., CELA, speaking at Chester County Night School Seminars at Stetston Middle School, 1060 Wilmington Pike, West Chester, PA on 4/7/2020 and at Owen J. Roberts Middle School, 881 Ridge Rd., Pottstown, PA on 4/21/2020 from 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. entitled “Beyond the Simple Will” (What is probate anyway? Why do I need a Will, I don’t have much? What are Powers of Attorney and why are they important? Shouldn’t I have a Trust? This class will answer these questions and more about mysterious “estate planning” topics) (contact Chester County Night School at 610-692-1964 or online here).

Watch OWM’s Legal Talk on PCTV, Tuesdays at 8:30 Channel 28, and Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. Channel 98, or on our website here.

Read Legal Ease every first and third Sunday in the Pottstown Mercury.

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