Tioga County is preparing to be counted in the 2020 decennial Census

Believe it or not, it has been nine years since the last United States decennial Census took place in 2010. The first mandated decennial census to count the entire population of the United States was in 1790, as mandated by Article 1, Section 2 of the United States Constitution. That enumeration resulted in a national population of 3,929,214. The first purpose of the U. S. Census was to divide congressional seats in proportion to the population. Today the population of the United States is estimated at 328,678,400. The purpose of the decennial count is for reapportionment of not only Congressional Districts, but also for state and county level elected officials that represent us at all these levels of government.

Furthermore, nearly $700 billion in federal funding is allocated annually to states and then on to localities, both cities and rural areas, based on the decennial population data collected. Purposes for this funding include critical services such as education, health care, social services, highway and bridge safety, transportation, safe housing, workforce assistance and disaster recovery. The United States 2020 Census will take place on April 1, 2020. 

Because of these important aspects, it is essential that Tioga County’s population be represented in the most accurate way during the United States 2020 Census count. Tioga County has therefore formed a 2020 Census Complete Count Committee. It is the mission of this Committee to make all Tioga County residents aware of the importance of the Census count, and how to participate by completing the 2020 Census Form. Members of this committee represent or serve either hard to reach populations or large captive audiences. Committee members’ names and organizations include Elaine Jardine, Tioga County Economic Development and Planning; Zackary Baker, Tioga County Economic Development and Planning; Natalie Thompson, Tioga County Department of Social Services; Amanda Kushner, Tioga Opportunities, Inc., Aging Services; Rachel Bond, Tioga County Rural Ministry; Joe DiCosimo, Owego Apalachin Central School District; Andy Fagan, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tioga County; Adrianne Goodrich, Tioga County Chamber of Commerce; Keith Flesher, Town of Berkshire supervisor; and Chris Brewster, Waverly Free Library. 

This Committee will be making Tioga County residents aware of the importance of and how to complete the decennial census form on April 1, 2020 through the planning and implementation of a yearlong awareness campaign. The committee will be getting this message out via regular daily operations with clientele; outreach through community outlets such as food pantries, senior centers, post offices and volunteer fire departments; at events held by each member’s organization; and at special events planned and hosted by the Tioga County Complete Count Committee specifically for the United States 2020 Census. 

Tioga County’s population has been decreasing since its peak in 1990 when that decennial census count was 52,337. The latest estimate from the 2013 – 2017 American Community survey estimates the entire county population at 49,322. 

Prior to the formation of this Complete Count Committee, Tioga County staff has been preparing for the United States 2020 Census by participating in two different Census Bureau programs. First, through the 2018 Local Update of Census Address (LUCA) program, they were able to provide input to the Census Bureau’s address list from their local address list resources for Tioga County so the Census Bureau has the most accurate addresses to utilize when sending the notice for Census 2020 by mail in the first quarter next year. Secondly, in the Census Bureau’s Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS), Tioga County staff are working diligently to compare Census- provided municipal geography with our local physical attributes and are in the process of correcting an issue along the common boundary of Tioga and Broome Counties. This will ensure a few more households are counted in Tioga County. 

So be on the lookout for promotional materials and events from Tioga County’s Census 2020 Census Complete Count Committee. They will be working hard to reach every resident in Tioga County over the next year to explain the importance of the decennial census and completing the form on April 1, 2020. 

For questions and more information, contact Elaine Jardine, County Planning director, at jardinee@co.tioga.ny.us or by phone at (607) 687-8257. 

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