Clearfield County Commissioners continued the board’s push to ensure all county residents are counted in the upcoming 2020 census.
Every 10 years, the federal government takes an official survey to ensure everyone living in the United States is counted.
The commissioners have noted, at previous meetings, the importance of all Clearfield County residents being included in the formal count so that federal funds continue to be dispersed to local organizations including municipal and county governments, local school districts and social organizations who depend on those funds to serve underprivaleged county residents.
Tuesday, Executive Officer Mary Jones of the Clearfield County League on Social Services told the commissioners the agency, which oversees programs that ensure the health and education of children, age birth to third grade, wants to make sure those programs continue being funded to the fullest amount they are entitled to received.
“(The federal government) is funding programs that affect the residents of Clearfield County,” Jones said. She provided an example of a county family of five where each member qualifies for $2,000 worth of federally-funded programs’ services or $10,000 each year that could go away if all county residents either choose not to or fail to be counted. “Over a 10-year period that number grows to $100,000 in grants that could be lost,” she explained.
Jones noted in past census’ counts, Clearfield County residents were underreported by as much as 20 percent. She added she believes part of the problem could be because residents don’t understand that their information cannot be shared with outside agencies such as law enforcement. “Everyone who works for the Census takes a life-long oath not to release any information,” she noted.
For the upcoming census, residents will have options for reporting information. She said they can share their data online, use a toll-free telephone number or complete the survey received and return it by mail.
Jones told the commissioners and the audience at Tuesday’s meeting to spread the word about the census and encourage those they know to participate saying there is a lot of federal funding at stake.
“We have a lot of people in Clearfield County that can benefit from those programs,” she said.
In a related matter, Commissioner John Sobel reported, the county has only received one letter of interest from a resident to participate in the Correct Count Census Committee. The committee would help ensure an accurate count is taken in the county.
“We have only had one volunteer since we put the word out. We are looking for interested residents who can help with allowing the census to be done as officially as possible,” Sobel said.