Harkins urges all residents to complete U.S. Census

ERIE, April 1 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, is reminding all residents on Census Day that their participation in the U.S. Census is vitally important.

 “The census happens every 10 years, on years ending in a zero, and it’s mandated by the U.S. Constitution because this critically important count helps the federal government determine how to allocate billions of dollars in funding,” Harkins said. “Pennsylvania receives nearly $27 billion in funding each year based on our response to the 2010 Census.

“Now, the census has come around again, and it’s more important than ever to make sure our Erie community receives its fair share of that funding – for health care, transportation, education, and more. But it’s up to our Erie residents – it only happens if everyone responds and gets counted. I’m urging everyone to do their part.”

Harkins noted that over the past 10 years, more than $268 billion in federal spending has gone to Pennsylvania communities for important federally funded programs.

In encouraging residents to respond, Harkins said they should not be concerned about safety or security because census answers can’t be used against a person, and data security is managed by high-level security experts. Moreover, the law prohibits the U.S. Census Bureau from releasing any information that identifies individuals, under penalty of large fines and possible prison time.

Harkins said although April 1 is known as “Census Day” because the date is used as a key reference date in the census questionnaire, it is not a deadline, and residents can respond after that date. 

Residents can respond by mail, by phone, or on online. Additional information about the U.S. Census is available here.