There’s growing concern that the lack of high-speed internet access among low income urban and rural households, immigrants, and other minority populations might leave them undercounted in the upcoming census. That’ll be the focus of a summit Wednesday hosted by the Central New York Digital Inclusion Coalition. Co-chair and director of the LaFayette Public Library Scott Kushner says the census bureau will start by sending postcards that direct residents to a website.
It’ll be the first census to be conducted largely online.
"If it was difficult before to get people to fill this out, this will create one more obstacle for many people. That's why libraries are ramping up to prepare for this."
Kushner says it’s like a Catch-22; those without internet access become the hardest to reach, and the most likely to be undercounted. He says that’s the same population that could benefit most by the distribution of federal funds.
"A lot of people might say what's the difference, it doesn't really matter. But it does matter. If you go to the Census website, it describes the benefits. There's like $675 billion each year in federal funds that go to schools, hospitals, roads, public works."
That’s not to mention how legislative districts are drawn for all levels of government. Representatives of immigrants, farmworkers, and other hard-to-reach populations will be on hand for Wednesday's summit to learn more about how to make sure they get counted. It runs from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Baldwinsville Public Library.