Three Gateway City Reps. In Friendly Census Challenge; Winning City Gets $1,000 Takeout Order

State Rep. Andy X. Vargas. (Courtesy photograph.)

Three state representatives, including Rep. Andy Vargas, are challenging each other to increase census participation rates in their communities with the winning city getting $1,000 worth of restaurant takeout orders.

Vargas of Haverhill and Reps. Paul Tucker of Salem and Carlos González of Springfield will be driving their residents to be counted in the federal census. The city with the highest census participation rate on Friday, May 15, wins. Two of the representatives are then obligated to buy $500 each of takeout from a local restaurant in the winning. The food will likely be donated to front-line workers. In a sense, Vargas says, everyone wins.

“The great thing about this challenge is that every community will ultimately win. The city with the highest response rate will see a boost to their restaurants and frontline workers, but every community will benefit from increased engagement and census response rates.”

The federal census is required by law to be held every 10 years, and helps decide how to divvy up more than $800 billion in federal money across the country. Officials say it could be a key method of deciding how stimulus and recovery funds will be spent over the next few years. Haverhill, Salem, and Springfield all had an average census response rate of 72.5% over the last two census takes.

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