Pa.’s 2020 census response exceeds national average | The Numbers Racket

By: - June 1, 2021 6:30 am

Second Lady Gisele Fetterman (Photo Commonwealth Media Services)

Efforts to get Pennsylvanians to respond to the 2020 census count were successful in the Keystone State, according to state officials. 

In May, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), which led the commonwealth’s census outreach efforts, reported that Pennsylvania’s household response rate was 99.9 percent for the 2020 census count.

Pennsylvania’s self-response rate was 2.6 percent higher than the national average, according to the department, and higher than the self-response rate in all but two of six neighboring states. 

“Led by Norman Bristol Colon, executive director of the Governor’s Census 2020 Complete Count Commission, Pennsylvania’s outreach efforts directly correlate to the overwhelming response received,” DCED Secretary Dennis Davin said in a statement. “Over the past year and a half, we worked tirelessly to remind our communities that they count, and that they need to be counted. Pennsylvanians rose to the occasion, helping Pennsylvania to secure the resources we’ll need over the next ten years.”

Media Campaign

The department’s media blitzkrieg, which included television, radio, print and billboard advertisements, generated more than 174 million digital impressions. 

It also generated approximately 355,000 clicks and 30.7 million completed video views. 


In March 2020, right as the COVID-19 pandemic began in Pennsylvania, DCED awarded grant funding for outreach efforts to hard-to-count populations to nearly 90 community-based organizations and municipalities across 53 counties. 

Three noteworthy community outreach initiatives were: 

  • The city of Lancaster partnered with the city of Reading to create weekly Census Facebook Live updates, radio talks and promotions, and other outreach focused on hard-to-count populations;
  • York-based CASA Pennsylvania launched a digital education campaign targeting Spanish- and English-speaking Latinx households in southcentral and southeast Pennsylvania, including organic and paid original ads, which achieved more than 2.4 million impressions on Facebook alone; and
  • The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown launched an LGBT-focused digital campaign, a direct mail campaign, paid media ads, and virtual events like a town hall featuring Second Lady Gisele Fetterman and Rep. Malcom Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.