Thursday is the final count day for the 2020 Census, which helps determine how much money cities and municipalities receive from the federal government for the next 10 years.
Those dollars help fund schools, infrastructure, and social services. In 2010, Lehigh County had a 70% response rate. It was about 76% for 2020 as of Thursday afternoon.
"Which is disappointing, because when this started, the county went full in on making this our top priority. So much funding comes from the census," said Lehigh County Executive Phil Armstrong.
Armstrong said the county had met with schools and colleges to get numbers up. It even had plans to put floats in parades to get the word out.
"Then COVID hit. COVID really hit when primetime census hit," Armstrong said.
The dream was 100 percent, but a realistic goal was 85 to 90 percent.
"I think that would have made a major difference," Armstrong said.
Northampton County was also hoping for an even higher response rate.
"For every person that's not counted, it costs us $2,093 and that really adds up over time," said Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure.
McClure said the county is up about three tenths of a percent from the last census, at just more than 76%.
"We had such great in-person plans for the census," McClure said.
Even despite perhaps unmet goals, the county is ranked in the top 150 of the more than 3,000 nationally.
On Thursday, the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, which helped coordinate census promotion in the area, continued with digital efforts to maximize responses. The organization, which originally had dozens of in-person hubs planned throughout the region, had to pivot its campaign due to COVID-19.
"We're just doing a final push on social media today," said Michael Wilson, director of communications.
Wilson said the Valley's cities yielded decent results. Allentown had a response rate of around 64% Thursday afternoon.
"Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton have come in better than a lot of the similar cities across the state as well," Wilson said. Wilson said Lehigh and Northampton counties are faring better than many counties around the state, and added that Pennsylvania is overall ahead of other states across the country.
If you still haven't responded, you can fill out the census online.