Wayne County fifth lowest county in census response rates

By OWEN WALSH
Posted 8/27/20

HONESDALE, PA — At their Thursday, August 27 meeting, the Wayne County Commissioners reminded residents that the deadline to respond to the 2020 census is almost here. The Census Bureau will …

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Wayne County fifth lowest county in census response rates

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HONESDALE, PA — At their Thursday, August 27 meeting, the Wayne County Commissioners reminded residents that the deadline to respond to the 2020 census is almost here. The Census Bureau will conclude counting on September 30, and with about a month to go, Wayne County currently has the fifth lowest response rate in Pennsylvania.

Overall, PA’s response rate is at a healthy 67.5 percent, but Wayne County is currently at 46.6 percent—that’s only 1.6 percent higher than at the beginning of July. Chief clerk Andrew Seder noted that in six of Wayne’s municipalities, under 40 percent of households have responded.

According to the commissioners, each Wayne County resident who does not respond to the census costs the county $2,100 in federal funding per year for the next decade. Seder also noted that low rates can cost the county in congressional representation.

Commissioner Joe Adams said that Wayne County’s rate is not quite as “bad as it sounds.”

“We are one of the highest [counties] percentage-wise... of non-resident homeowners,” he said, referring to people with vacation homes in the county, who don’t live here year-round and therefore don’t fill out a census here. Adams said that by the last count, 58 percent of the housing population is residential, the other 42 percent is not—so a 58 percent census response rate would be close to ideal.

Adams also noted, however, that many second-home owners may have just recently moved to Wayne County full-time, in an effort to steer clear of COVID-19. Adams asked people who have moved here recently—but prior to April 1, which is the Census Bureau’s cutoff for residency—to respond and help improve Wayne County’s response rate.

Residents can respond to the census online at www.2020census.gov, by filling out and sending back a form through the mail, or over the phone 844/330-2020. Census takers are also currently going door-to-door to collect responses.

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