Census forms will be mailed out to Pennsylvania households in the coming months, and government officials are trying to get the word out that a person can’t get into trouble by filling out a form.
Appearing before a Pennsylvania House Committee, assistant regional census manager Philip Lutz pointed out the task is to count the number of people living in the United States, whether or not they’re here legally or breaking any laws.
He says it’s sometimes difficult to convince undocumented immigrants or those with outstanding warrants to fill out forms, adding the bad economy may complicate the matter.
"A number of people who may be losing their homes, and now they’re doubled up with relatives or friends. Who may not be living there according to local zoning laws, or maybe the landlord doesn’t know they’re in there, or the housing authority. And people are going to be reluctant to tell the government, here are all these people living in this house."
Lutz says census officials are barred by law from sharing information with authorities or other branches of government, and will only publish statistical and not personal data. Forms will be distributed in March, and are due April 1.