Lehigh Valley leaders say census deadline extension won’t rectify 2020 undercounts

Written by on October 12, 2020

Lehigh Valley leaders say census deadline extension won’t rectify 2020 undercounts

By Genesis Ortega

October 12, 2020

Shown is an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident, in Glenside, Pa., Thursday, March 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The census count continues this week now that the deadline has been pushed back again to Oct. 31. And that’s giving local cities a little more time to reduce undercounts. But as WLVR’s Genesis Ortega reports, some Lehigh Valley leaders say they need more than a few extra weeks to get the numbers up.

What started as a promising year for census turnout was upended as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most face-to-face operations, and outreach plans pivoted to a mostly digital approach. 

Faces International is one local organization that is working with the census in the valley. COO Kevin Greene says that it takes time to build trust between the government and residents. 

“I believe that the system has not created the avenues to help promote, educate, and create a relationship with everyone that is sitting on American soil the day that the census comes up,” says Greene.

Greene says that the community should focus on census education in preparation for the 2030 count now. 

“We shouldn’t be educating people about the census six months before the census. We should be educating the fact that hey, we didn’t have a complete count last time.”

For the rest of the month, Greene says his company is focused on digital marketing and families with school age children. 

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