Tompkins County continued its push this week to generate participation in the 2020 Census, which is ongoing and determines voting representation and many significant funding streams.?
"The outcome of the 2020 Census will have broad implications for issues such as local?redistricting?and funding for vital public services," the county wrote in a statement. "One area directly impacting Tompkins County residents is public transportation, whether they drive, carpool, take the bus, bike, or walk to get to where they need to go."?
Fears over the coronavirus' impact on Ithaca and Tompkins County's Census numbers started basically as soon as the local colleges announced they would be sending their students home. Although college students have been told it is proper to list their addresses in Ithaca on their Census questionnaire, it appears the confusion has complicated the process.?
"Census tract counts in Downtown Ithaca and surrounding Cornell University and Ithaca College?continue to be?low?according to the online tracker, with Collegetown tracts?still?only having a 20-30% response rate," the county said. "County officials are urging residents who live in these areas (or who are temporarily away due to COVID-19) to accurately complete the census."
Overall Census participation so far in Tompkins County is currently estimated at 58.1 percent of households.?The census can be filled out here. The county further pointed out the resounding effects such an undercount could have on federal funding, specifically those related to the Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council and other organizations that work on transportation priorities locally.?
"An undercounted area or County could result in reduced federal funding for municipalities and nonprofits, implications for federal, state, and local representation by elected officials, access to public transportation, and inaccurate data for business and nonprofit planning," the announcement concluded.?