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NPR's Hansi Lo Wang to discuss 'The People, Power and Money Behind the Census'

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — It may not get as much attention as a presidential election, but the once-a-decade head count of every person living in the United States comes with major consequences regarding who gets power and money over the next 10 years.

Credit: Stephen Voss/NPRAll Rights Reserved.

Hansi Lo Wang, National Public Radio (NPR) national correspondent and award-winning journalist, will discuss “The People, Power and Money Behind the Census” at 4 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 19. The virtual event will be hosted by Penn State University Libraries and the McCourtney Institute for Democracy. Registration is free and open to the public

Wang has reported on all of the controversies surrounding the 2020 count, including the Trump administration’s failed efforts to add the now-blocked citizenship question and last-minute changes to a schedule already delayed by the pandemic, which put the count’s accuracy in serious jeopardy.

Hosted by Jenna Spinelle, of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy’s Democracy Works podcast, the discussion will include insights from Wang’s three years of 2020 census coverage. Spinelle, who said she’s learned much about the census through her work at the McCourtney Institute, said several recent podcast episodes have discussed its importance and impact on everything from education to public health.

“I see this conversation with Hansi as a deeper dive into what’s happening with the census this year and where we go from here as data collection wraps up,” said Spinelle. “The McCourtney Institute is very grateful to the Libraries for creating an opportunity to raise awareness about this important, and often overlooked, issue.” 

In 2019, Wang received the American Statistical Association’s Excellence in Statistical Reporting Award for covering the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as the Trump administration’s push for the now-blocked citizenship question. He joined NPR a year after graduating from Swarthmore College.

“The People, Power and Money Behind the Census” is funded by the Steighton A. Watts Jr. Endowment for the procurement of materials and special activities in political science and made possible by a partnership between Penn State University Libraries and the McCourtney Institute for Democracy.

For more information about this program, contact Andrew Dudash, event coordinator and librarian for political science, policy studies and government information, at

Last Updated November 01, 2021