OLEAN, NY – On a typical day, Jason Eastman could be presenting at multiple libraries or setting up tents at festivals. Wherever he goes, he is responsible for answering people’s questions about the 2020 census. 

“I’m like an ambassador,” said Eastman, who as a senior partnership specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau in the Western and Central New York divisions works to inform people the census is important, safe and easy.

Eastman delivered that message during his census awareness presentation at the Olean Public Library Saturday. Only two people attended – this TAPinto Greater Olean reporter and a library employee who surmised people may be staying out of public places to avoid exposure to the Coronavirus.  

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Census results determine the amount of government funding and seats in the House of Representatives the state gets, Eastman said. 

Census employees are sworn to confidentiality, and the bureau never distributes private information such as names, addresses and phone numbers. 

Actually, Eastman said, the Census Bureau never asks for a person’s Social Security number, or about donations or political party affiliations, or for banking information.

Eastman also said the census provides four ways to respond: online, on paper, by phone or by personal visit, the last being the least reliable and most expensive of the options.

The Census Bureau will conduct Faith Communities Census Weekend of Action nationwide from March 27 to March 29, giving people the opportunity to ask questions and receive help with their responses at their places of faith.

As he concluded his presentation, Eastman opened the American Fact Finder, an online tool provided by the Census Bureau, on the screen and showed information about the city of Olean. 

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