Census response in Philadelphia still lagging as deadline looms

Walter Perez Image
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Response in Philadelphia still lagging as Census deadline looms
There is just about a week left before the deadline arrives to fill out the United States Census.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With about a week to go before the deadline arrives to fill out the United States Census, State Representative Morgan Cephas spent time Tuesday encouraging her constituents to do just that.

"Currently, Pennsylvanians average, in other counties throughout the commonwealth, roughly 67%, but here in Philadelphia, we're hovering around at a little bit above 50%. And here in the 192nd (district) we're at 45%," Cephas said.

Indications are that a diminished self-response rate is, at least partly, to blame.

The Action News data journalism team found that when you do not factor in follow up efforts by Census-takers, the self-response rate in Philadelphia currently stands at 55.4%.

A seven-point drop from the city's final self-response rate from the Census 10 years ago.

"It's important because the funding that's given to our community," said James Rucker, of Wynnefield.

"Unless you fill out the paperwork and let the state and everyone know what's going on nobody knows who needs help and who doesn't need help," said Whole Javinnia Witts, of Overbrook.

Cephas has been out in her section of West Philadelphia handing out food and PPE. She even has a paper-shredding event coming-up, all designed to get her constituents counted.

"We're just going to do as much as we can to get the community to come out to complete the Census," she said.

The deadline to fill out the Census is September 30.