Kensington Library: Why the 2020 Census matters to us

Sara Palmer, the library supervisor at Kensington Library, poses for a portrait in front of the library at 104 W. Dauphin St. on Feb. 24, 2020. (Photo by Erin Blewett)

The United States Census is critically significant to any noncommercial organization that provides social services — in the Free Library’s case, information-related services — to citizens. 

The Census, which is a population count that occurs once every 10 years, helps to determine how more than 1.5 trillion of dollars in federal funds are distributed to states, cities, and communities every year. The results also decide how many seats in Congress each state receives. 

The more funds and representation assigned to Philadelphia, the more robust our safety net and infrastructure are likely to be for years to come. Kensington is in desperate need of the investment an accurate count would bring. Yet, our community is particularly at risk of being undercounted for various reasons. 

For example, those with citizenship or legal concerns may think it is unsafe to participate, which is untrue. We want to spread the word that under federal law, Census staff must keep your data private. As stated on the Census website, the Census Bureau is not allowed to release any identifiable information to anyone — including law enforcement agencies. All information about you, your home, or your business is private.

The Kensington Library is embedded in a densely populated residential area that depends on a variety of governmentally-funded resources — including the library itself. We know that Kensington counts and that our community deserves a fair allocation of funding. We also deserve to be heard in the halls of Harrisburg and Washington, DC. 

To encourage our neighborhood’s participation, we are hosting a Census-themed community fair outside the library on Saturday, April 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to sharing information about the Census, we’ll have representation from various neighborhood organizations and fun family-oriented activities. We hope to see you all there. 

Kensington Voice is one of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on economic mobility. Read more at brokeinphilly.org or follow on Twitter at @BrokeInPhilly.


What did you think about this story? Send a note to editors@kensingtonvoice.com, and we’ll consider publishing it in our Voices section. You can also tell us what you think in person at our neighborhood events.

Editors: Zari Tarazona, Jillian Bauer-Reese / Story Designer: Jillian Bauer-Reese / Translator: Diana Cristancho

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