Back in February the Census folks came to Chester ready to pay about $20/hr for Census workers and the overall response I saw on my blog post was ‘absolutely not!’  

I’m not sure if the coronavirus has helped any of you change your minds or if it’s even too late to apply.

To ensure everyone is counted, census takers will be visiting households that haven’t responded yet to the 2020 Census to collect their responses in person staring no later than August 11. All follow-up efforts will conclude no later than October 31.

When they come knocking on your door, the Census takers are trained to:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Conduct the interview outside a home in an open, well-ventilated space, when possible.
  • Allow 6 feet of space between them and the person they are interviewing.
  • Not allow anyone else to handle Census Bureau equipment.

If a household does not want to conduct the interview in person, they can provide the census taker with their phone number to complete it over the phone.

From the looks of things, they’ll be knocking on a lot of Chester doors. 

To date, Chester has a dismal 33% response rate to the 2020 Census (compared to 68% in the county overall) with 15% responding via the internet (compared to 57% in the county). At this rate, Chester City will receive close to 70% less money from the state than we’re entitled to. 

Complete your Census here


Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 8.20.58 AM
Image shows Census track 4107 in Chester at 33% response rate and all other sections of Chester at under 50% response rate

For each person that’s not counted, the state loses cash – about $2,500 per uncounted person, for each of the next 10-years. In 2016, Pennsylvania received $39,179,047,733 through 55 federal spending programs guided by data derived from the 2010 Census. That money flows downhill to the county and eventually to every municipality. 

We must be concerned that Chester’s population is accurately counted to receive funding for everything from local schools to rebuilding community centers and infrastructure.

The money comes through programs designed to address a wide range of issues, from health care to nutrition for children and families, to assistance for college costs, to housing assistance, to jobs programs, and more.

There is an obvious link between much of the federal funds flowing to the states, and the funds then flowing from the states to counties, cities, towns, and other locales. If an inaccurate census count results in less money for a state in these programs, then that probably means less money for most local areas. 

There are a few programs that rely on census numbers to guide funds all the way to the local level. These programs include:

  • Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies, which provide financial assistance to schools and school districts with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet state academic standards;
  • Community Development Block Grants Entitlement Program, which provides annual grants to Chester to help provide decent housing and suitable living conditions, and to expand economic opportunities, primarily for people with low and moderate income
  • Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act Programs for Dislocated Workers, Adults, and Youths, which provide financial support for employment and training services including job searching, career counseling, placement assistance, and relocation assistance for three separate target groups: dislocated workers (those terminated or laid off and unlikely to return to previous industry), adults, and youths.