DUNMORE, Pa. — With the 2020 U.S. Census quickly approaching, Penn State Scranton is taking a proactive approach to promoting the importance of the once-every-decade U.S. population survey.
On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the campus Community Events Series will host the educational program, “The Urgency of Now: What the Penn State Community Should Know About the 2020 Census,” from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Study Learning Center's Sherbine Lounge. The event is free and open to the public.
At the event, Pedro Anes, U.S. Census Bureau partnership specialist for the Scranton area, will facilitate a forum geared around a number of critical issues that the campus community and local residents should be aware of heading into next year’s census.
Anes was invited to the campus by Penn State Scranton Chancellor Marwan Wafa.
“It’s essential for us to educate the public about the census because of the significant financial implications it has for our region,” Wafa said. “This is an opportunity to answer any questions and alleviate any concerns that people might have on the issue. Many of us, myself included, don’t quite realize how census data is used, and the impact that it has on people.”
Jennie Knies, campus head librarian and chair of the campus’ Community Events Series committee, said that many people have the misconception that the census is simply a count of every person living in the U.S. In fact, it serves a number of objectives, she said.
“The results of the census are used to determine how many seats each state gets in the House of Representatives. And, the numbers are used by federal, state and local governments, and by businesses, to make crucial decisions about services and programs,” said Knies, noting census data also serves as a valuable tool to researchers and genealogists once its confidentiality requirements expire after 70 years.
At the talk, Anes, a member of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs and chairman of the Scranton Human Relations Commission, will not only stress the importance of participating in the census, but also ways to overcome the Scranton area’s estimated 25% to 35% response to it.
In addition, Anes’ presentation will focus on the safety and ease of completing the census, which can now be done online. And, he’ll delve into its financial implications — specifically, the $675 billion in federal funding that’s allocated to the states based on their per-capita response to the census.
That funding is spent on schools, hospitals, roads and social service programs, in the process creating jobs and quality-of-life resources for citizens, said Jo Ann Durdan, event co-coordinator and education program specialist in the campus’ Center for Business Development and Community Outreach.
“The census benefits our community as a whole,” Durdan said. “We have a civic duty to inform, educate and provide the necessary information for the community to understand the importance of the census. Understanding the barriers can help in clearing up any misinformation.”
For more information on the event, call 570-963-2685 or visit scranton.psu.edu/event/learn-more-about-2020-census. And, for further information on the census, visit www.census.gov.