Pa. made a $44M Census mistake in 2010. How one group is trying to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself | Wednesday Morning Coffee

January 22, 2020 7:20 am

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a whole mess of times: The 2020 Census is closing in on us. And for a whole host of reasons, from highway and school funding to congressional representation, the need for an accurate national headcount cannot be overstated.

But as the Harrisburg-based activist group Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children points out in a new data drop, one group — children of color — have been consistently undercounted in the decennial population tally.

“Children of color have been historically undercounted by the census,” the advocacy group said in a statement. “Not only are people of color consistently undercounted, but non-Hispanic whites have been consistently over counted, further compounding the problem. The rate of uncounted young kids in urban areas is double or triple the national figure, and that kids of color are also more likely to be missed.”

(Source: Pa. Partnerships for Children)

According to PPC, that undercount happens for several reasons. But, in general, “many communities of color have endured a long history of inequitable treatment from governmental authorities resulting in significant distrust that has adversely impacted participation in the Census,” the group said.

Some specific factors among various communities of color that contribute to that undercount, PPC said.

Among them:

  • “African Americans are statistically less likely to have internet access at home, an increasingly important factor as much of the Census moves online;
  • Latinos are more likely to be immigrants and therefore non-English speakers; and
  • some Asian immigrants come from countries that do not have a census system,” PPC observed.

Here’s why that matters: For every kid who wasn’t counted in the 2010 Census, Pennsylvania lost $1,746 a head in federal funding for Medicaid, CHIP, foster care and adoption services, and childcare, PPC said. A decade ago, Pennsylvania undercounted 25,197 children, for a loss of nearly $44 million in federal funding.

“If there is a child living in your home on April 1, 2020, that kid counts,” PPC said in its statement.

Our Stuff:
Another day, another legislative retirement — okay, two. Democratic Rep. Bill Kortz, of Allegheny County, and Republican Rep. Mike Tobash, of Schuylkill County, both announced they’re not seeking re-election in 2020. Stephen Caruso has the details, naturally, on both. Also, we have a retirement map — and it’s getting full.

Caruso also has what you need to know about a state regulatory board’s decision to jack up permitting fees on oil and gas drillers, who, naturally, are predicting financial apocalypse as a result.

Elizabeth Hardison has what you need to know about some surprise opposition to a probation reform bill now before the state House. It comes from probation reform officers.

Washington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender gets you smart, fast on the first day of impeachment trial action in the U.S. Senate.

On our Commentary Page, opinion regular Anwar Curtis makes a welcome return to our pages, introducing you to a Harrisburg woman who’s trying to knock down the barriers to higher education to young people in the capital city.  And Eric Failing of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference calls for a return to civility and compassion in 2020.

Love Park in Philadelphia (Photo via Flickr Commons)

Philadelphia City Councilman Bobby Henon
, who’s facing indictment, has been handed some powerful committees chairmanships, the Inquirer reports.
The Post-Gazette explains why two members of City Council want to divide parks tax money between the city’s nine districts.
In a new poll, President Donald Trump ‘narrowly lags’ competitors in Pa. and other states he won in 2016PennLive reports.
A Lehigh Valley delegation that included U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-7th Districtsurveyed the damage in Puerto Rico last weekend. The Morning Call has the story.

Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:

SEPTA has taken its famed trolleys off Girard Avenue because more than three-quarters of its fleet can’t make inspection, WHYY-FM reports.
A federal regulator says the deaths of Pennsylvania residents with intellectual disabilities went unreported, the PA Post reports.
Democrat Judi Reiss has dropped her campaign for Bucks County’s 1st Congressional District, PolitcsPA reports.
Tuesday’s procedural debate in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is a kind of ‘proxy fight’ over the charges at the heart of the trial, Talking Points Memo explains.

What Goes On.
The House comes in at 11 a.m.
10 a.m., Ryan Office Building lobby: House lawmakers and advocates discuss anti-human trafficking bills now before the chamber, and that are expected to win approval.

In a sure sign that it’s budget season, Gov. Tom Wolf is holding a public event to tease a bit of his upcoming spending plan. He’ll be in Philly for a 2:45 p.m. newser talking about vulnerable populations in the fiscal 2020-21 spending plan.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Belated best wishes go out this morning to Inky columnist Will Bunch, who celebrated on Tuesday.

Heavy Rotation.
Some among you may know this one better as “That One that R.E.M. Covered.” But here’s the original “Superman,” from 1960s garage rockers The Clique.

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Carolina beat visiting Winnipeg 4-1 on Tuesday night. Returning ‘Canes forward Justin Williams scored twice, including a power-play goal, on the way to the win.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.