Monday, July 20, 2009

Pittsburgh Leaders Pledge Accurate Count of Region's Diverse Population in 2010 Census

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato today announced the formation of a City-County Complete Count Committee (CCC), consisting of leaders and volunteers from across the region to assist with ensuring an accurate 2010 Census.

The goals of the CCC are to increase the level of participation in the 2010 Census by creating awareness of the importance of counting every single resident and to increase the mail back response rate.

“Our goal for the 2010 Census is 100 percent participation,” Onorato said. “The count determines the funding Allegheny County receives for roads, bridges, and essential human service programs. With the help of Charlie Batch, our co-chairs, and everyone who joins our effort, we know we can educate people about the importance of the Census and returning their surveys by Census Day, April 1, 2010.”

Charlie Batch, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and president of the Best of the Batch Foundation, will serve as honorary chairman of the Complete Count Committee. Cynthia Baldwin, former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice and current partner at Duane Morris LLP, and Rev. Dr. J. Van Alfred Winsett, senior pastor for Ebenezer Baptist Church, have been named co-chairs of the CCC, and will help to lead the effort to ensure that everyone residing in Allegheny County is counted during the decennial census.

For the 2000 Census, 71 percent of people living in Allegheny County and 61 percent of City of Pittsburgh residents returned their forms.

“With the statistics from the 2010 Census being used to determine congressional representation and allocate federal funding, it is critical that we ensure that every City of Pittsburgh resident is counted,” Ravenstahl said.

“This Complete Count Committee will play a key role in helping us successfully meet the challenge. The population of our region is become increasingly more diverse, and it is up to us to identify creative strategies for reaching everyone so they are included in the 2010 Census. I thank the volunteers who have agreed to assist us with this important work.”

The following seven Complete Count subcommittees have been formed: Business & Labor; Community-based Human Services Organizations; Diversity; Education; Faith-based; Government & Leadership; and Media.

Each subcommittee will develop and implement strategies that increase the return rate of surveys and reduce the undercount of residents who might be missed due to any number of perceived or real barriers. Information on each subcommittee may be found by visiting the CCC website at www.census2010countmein.com.

Those interested in volunteering will be able to register on the website to serve on one of the subcommittees. Onorato and Ravenstahl will announce the co-chairs for the respective subcommittees in the coming weeks.

The U.S. Constitution requires a population and housing count every 10 years. The effort employs some of the most sophisticated technical and operational tools available, as well as a workforce of 1.4 million temporary employees to count every man, woman and child.

Census results are the basis for congressional representation, as well as the distribution of federal, state and local funds totaling more than $435 billion annually. Census Day is April 1, 2010.

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