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Don’t forget census

More than a month into the 2020 census, many people have yet to respond.

As of Wednesday, 57.3 percent of households nationwide had responded, and just a bit more, 59.9 percent, of Pennsylvania households had responded.

Blair County residents have done a little better, census data shows, with our county’s rate at 62 percent as of Wednesday.

And we’re ahead of neighboring counties where the response rates vary: Bedford at 58.8 percent, Cambria at 59.7 percent, Huntingdon at 49.8 percent, Centre at 56.4 percent and Clearfield at 53.2 percent.

Still, because most of us have received at two or more reminders in the mail, we have to wonder why the percentages aren’t higher.

Procrastination may be a big factor, but for those who haven’t responded, now is the time to do it.

During the current stay-at-home order associated with the coronavirus pandemic, most people probably have more than enough time to complete what turns out to be a very short task.

Perhaps the low response percentages are reflective of a lack of trust? Sure, there are plenty of scam artists out there.

We frequently remind our readers of scams that target unsuspecting persons, particularly the elderly.

Remember, however, that the census is not asking for personal information such as Social Security or bank account numbers. It’s also not asking for your political party or any related beliefs.

So why should you complete the census? Because failing to do so means our region may be underrepresented, underfunded and underserved. That’s because the 2020 census will be used to determine congressional representation when redistricting takes place next year.

It will be used to decide how to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding each year for more than 100 programs, including those for hospitals, fire departments, school lunch programs, Medicaid, Head Start, community mental health services and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.

In short, the census will provide data that will affect our communities for the next decade. Please don’t delay. Respond to the census today.

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