Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau hopes to get an accurate population count for every state in the country. That count helps determine how much federal money each state gets.
Pennsylvania receives about $26 billion in federal grants based on those census numbers. For every uncounted person, the state could lose about $2,000 in funding.
That’s why state officials are doing what they can to make sure they get the word out to everyone to fill out those census forms, including hard-to-count populations like young children, the homeless, or those who don’t speak fluent English. They’re trying to make it easier this year to fill out the census by making it available online and in twice as many languages.
One potential new question on the 2020 Census could cause problems. President Trump wants the addition of a question that asks whether the resident is a legal U.S. citizen. Some state officials worry the addition of that question could scare some undocumented immigrants from participating.