Census 2020 | What You Can do
The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation dedicated funding and resources for a complete and accurate count for the Census 2020. The census count ended on October 15, 2020.
Lehigh Valley | Census 2020 Results
The good news is the Lehigh Valley as a whole has done well, especially considering the ongoing downward trend in census response over the past three decades, the impact of COVID19, and the growing distrust of government overall. While the response rates fell short of our ambitious goals in the Lehigh Valley, when you look at where we rank in comparison to others the Lehigh Valley has fared well. Combining Lehigh and Northampton counties, they are both around the top 5% of counties in the country for response rate. In Pa., both topped 75% joining only 8 other counties (out of 67) in the state to do so.
We assume the numbers are subject to change as things get finalized over the next two months. It's our understanding that some data from the enumerators will be added to the self-response rate to make the final numbers. While our Allentown number (64.8) fell short, when we look at Reading (54.9), Harrisburg (49), Scranton (60.4), York (53.9) and other similar cities in PA... we did well in comparison. We even beat Lancaster (64.5) by a nose. One thing remained true, those hard-to-count areas in 2010 became even harder to count in 2020.
Below is a chart to assess how we did. And since it's a national state, county and city-wide competition to get the most complete count you can, rank is important to see where areas stack up compared to others.
Why the Census 2020 is Important to our Region
Allocation of Federal Resources: Data from the Census 2020 will affect the annual allocation of over $800 billion in federal funds for 300 federal programs which include infrastructure, education, healthcare, and emergency services. Programs in the Lehigh Valley that rely on census data for the allocation include $10 million for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and $6.7 million in Community Development Block Grants each year. An undercount in the Lehigh Valley puts these and numerous other federal programs at risk for underfunding.
Determination of Congressional Representation: Census data determines the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives as well as redistricting at the state and local levels. Current census predictions show Pennsylvania losing one congressional seat after the 2020 census, reducing our state’s voice.
What is the urgency in supporting the census? The census bureau is underfunded compared to previous census efforts, affecting the amount of offices, field staff, public education, marketing, and testing conducted leading up to the 2020 census. Additionally, 2020 Census will be online for the first time, which threatens to impact the response rate of the 20.1% of Pennsylvania’s households that have either no internet access or dial-up only.
To ensure the Lehigh Valley has an accurate count, the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation has launched a Civic Engagement: Census 2020 initiative, and established the Census Equity Fund. LVCF will support efforts through the following activities:
- LVCF is funding key organizations that serve historically undercounted communities in Lehigh and Northampton counties.
- Grants are supporting projects that will build awareness about the importance of the Cenus and increase community’s participation in the count.
- LVCF is also providing these organizations technical assistance and training.
- LVCF staff co-chair a regional complete count committee in partnership with the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and is represented on the five Lehigh Valley’s Complete Count Committees.
- Additionally, LVCF will support the region’s nonprofit, business, and government stakeholders by providing training on communication and outreach.
- LVCF is planning several events and initiatives in partnership with other organizations throughout the region to build awareness.
- Plans include media campaigns to reach at-risk areas, and awareness events for nonprofit organizations and area philanthropists.
Make a gift to the Census Equity Fund at LVCF
Giving to the Census Equity Fund is easy! Find it online here at or make a grant from your donor-advised fund. LVCF fundholders with donor-advised funds can find the “Census Equity Fund” as a grantee in DonorCentral.
ASK MEGAN | Learn more about how the Community Foundation is working to ensure a complete count
Director of Community Investments
Lehigh Valley Community Foundation
840. W. Hamilton Street, Suite 310
Allentown, PA 18101
610 351-5353, ext. 11 | firstname.lastname@example.org
ASK BERNIE | Ask me how you can best get involved in helping the Community Foundation ensure a complete count
Lehigh Valley Census 2020 Video: