Pennsylvania cranks up PR campaign to boost census response

This March 23, 2018, file photo shows an envelope containing a 2018 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident as part of the nation's only test run of the 2020 Census. (Michelle R. Smith/AP Photo)

This March 23, 2018, file photo shows an envelope containing a 2018 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident as part of the nation's only test run of the 2020 Census. (Michelle R. Smith/AP Photo)

Pennsylvania’s second lady, Giselle Fetterman, will help lead a campaign to raise awareness of this year’s Census Bureau count and encourage residents to respond to the census, state officials said Monday.

Fetterman, whose husband is Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, said she will tour the state, making stops in Philadelphia and Centre, Erie, Allegheny, Lancaster and Luzerne counties over the next three months.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order in 2018 to create a commission to help ensure a robust census count and signed legislation in October authorizing up to $4 million to buttress the count. Meanwhile, 94 non-profit community organizations are working together to encourage their targeted communities to return census forms.

Wolf’s administration said Pennsylvania receives $26.8 billion annually for federally funded programs, based on the census, amounting to about $2,000 per Pennsylvanian per year.

More than 20 states are committing hundreds of millions of dollars to boosting census counts.

Current census projections show Pennsylvania is growing more slowly than the rest of the country, and is expected to lose a congressional seat in 2023.

Residents can respond to the form by mail, by phone or online. Most households will receive a census invitation in the mail by April 1. In May, census takers will begin visiting households that haven’t responded. Counts will be submitted in December.

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