Submitted by:

Rob Wonderling, President & CEO, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce

As an Honorary Chair of the 2010 Philly Counts census campaign, I’d like to share this information with you and your organization.

Let me tell you why 2010 is the year that counts.

As you may know, the national census happens every 10 years and will take place next year. I encourage all Philadelphians – as well as all residents of this 11-county, tri-state region – to participate. Here’s why:

More than 170 federal programs allocating more than $400 billion use Census-based formulas to determine who gets the money. According to a preliminary report, Philadelphia received more than $4 billion in federal funding in FY 2008 based on decennial census data. That’s more than $2,500 per person.

That’s a lot of money. It could have been even more. For the past nine years, Philadelphia’s population has been under-counted. We know this because earlier this month, the U.S. Census Bureau accepted Philadelphia’s first-ever Census challenge and added 93,000 residents to the population estimate, bringing our official estimate to 1,540,351, up from 1,447,395.

What’s in a number?

This means for the first time in 60 years, the official Philadelphia population has gone up, not down. The city population is growing, which is a sign of economic health and a confirmation of the energy we feel throughout the city.

Also, higher population should mean hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in additional federal funding to Philadelphia going forward for programs that range from affordable housing to neighborhood improvement plans and economic development.

I want to thank the Citi Foundation and the William Penn Foundation for funding Philadelphia’s Census challenge.

 And I want to ask you to make sure that in 2010, you count. And get counted.