At a Philly Counts regional meeting at the Philadelphia Masjid in West Philadelphia, Rajan Muhammad filled out a Commit to Count card: a pledge to complete the 2020 Census once it becomes available in the spring.

Muhammad is a community organizer and Vice President of the 3rd Ward, where he helps oversee a 10 block area of over 670 residents. When he’s out in the neighborhood, he makes it a point to chat with people in his community about the 2020 Census and why it will have a considerable impact on our city’s neighborhoods.

He hopes that talking to people about the census will inspire them to become active, lifelong participants in the count. “We don’t want [people] to just do the census this one time,” Muhammed says. “We want them to get acclimated to the need for it every 10 years.”

Commit to Count pledge 

Philly Counts launched the Commit to Count pledge in mid-January and is encouraging community members to participate. The goal is helping residents to make a plan to complete the census by considering which method they will use, and provides helpful census information and suggestions for encouraging others to participate.  The pledge can be completed online or on a physical card.

As the census approaches, the cards will be mailed back to pledgees as a reminder from themselves of their commitment to participate in the census.

Philly Counts is partnering with the Free Library of Philadelphia to have Commit to Count cards and collection boxes at libraries across the city. Head to any Free Library in your area to take the pledge! Community centers will also serve host sites for cards and boxes in an effort to encourage as many Philadelphia residents as possible to prepare for the census. 

This pledge is important because Philadelphia is home to several areas with low census response rates and it is a reminder of how critical it is to participate in the census. In the 2020 Census count, if just one person is missed, our city could face the loss of $21,000 in federal funding over the decade. If an undercount occurs, the city’s capacity to meet the needs of all of its residents would be seriously impacted. 

Muhammad says that reminding Philadelphians of the role they already play in funding the wellbeing of their communities might help encourage participation. “We have to go out and tell people that with the census, you are so important because you’re making a contribution…When you take the census, and you count the people, the people in your neighborhood, and the people in your city, and the people in your state, they all get funded.”

Take the pledge to complete the census, so everyone has the resources they need to thrive for the next ten years.