WESTFIELD – The deadline to fill out the census form and be counted is Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Census data, which is collected every 10 years, informs where over $675 billion in federal funding is spent each year in states and communities, impacting programs that serve all ages from preschool children to seniors, as well as political representation.
In July, Secretary of State Francis Galvin, the Census 2020 liaison, said there is a real concern that western Massachusetts would be shortchanged by the federal government if everyone isn’t counted. At the time, census takers began a door to door count in Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin, Hampden, Worcester, Norfolk and Middlesex Counties.
If anyone hasn’t been counted, either by self-reporting or answering the door to a census worker, there is still time till fill out the Census 2020 form online at www.my2020census.gov or by telephone at 1-844-330-2020, which takes 10 minutes.
Council on Aging Director Tina Gorman said from a grant standpoint, programs like the Senior Center have to follow the national census numbers, which she said they are “stuck with” for more than 10 years. “For grant purposes, we have to use the 2010 numbers for another year or two. In 2022, we’ll be using 2020 figures,” she said.
“It’s really important, when so much of our funding whether for kids or for seniors and everyone in between is based on a per person amount,” Gorman said.
As of Sept. 25, 97.6% of Massachusetts households had been counted, according to the U.S. Census Bureau website. However, if that percentage is lower here in western Massachusetts, residents risk being shortchanged once again.