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York City continues outreach ahead of 2020 U.S. Census

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
The Census Bureau provides U.S. households with a number of ways to confirm the validity of a survey, so be wary of scams and check before sending sensitive personal information. (Richard B. Levine/Sipa USA/TNS)

York City continues to prioritize participation in the 2020 U.S. Census in search of federal and state aid as it battles budget struggles and a lack of development outside of downtown.

Earlier this week, the city announced it had partnered with York County in creating a Complete Count Committee to inform citizens about the importance and safety of participating in the census.

"Having an accurate count that is representative of the population is incredibly important," said Philip Given, acting director of community and economic development. "It's important when it comes to grant writing and fund allocation from the federal and state government."

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The committee is just the most recent effort to ensure as many heads as possible are counted ahead of the census, which dictates legislative representation in Congress and federal and state funding opportunities.

Through a partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, city officials, faith leaders and business owners will distribute information about the importance of taking part in the census to residents throughout York County.

In 2015 alone, Pennsylvania received nearly $27 billion in federal grant dollars for 16 federal assistance programs, according to the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

That could be even higher if turnout increases, as the state misses out on about $2,000 for each uncounted person, the agency has said. Numbers isolated to York City are not available.

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The city is at a slight disadvantage, however, because of its population. Just more than 44,000 people lived in the city in 2018, according to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau. It hasn't surpassed 50,000 since the 1970s.

That number is important because breaking the 50,000 threshold provides access to numerous grants from the federal government, including the Community Development Block Grant, Rural Business Enterprise Grant and Urbanized Area Formula Grant.

Those grants would help spur development in low-income neighborhoods, boost small businesses and increase aid for transportation.

The city's population peaked at nearly 60,000 in 1950, but it steadily declined until the early 2000s, when it began to see minimal gains.

The city "does not anticipate" reaching the 50,000 mark, Given said.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.