Census Count Continues

“It is a huge operation to do a census. It is just an enormous, enormous thing. I don’t think people appreciate the precision which is required. It’s really at the core of everything that’s done in government, and, to a large extent, in the private sector for an entire decade. So it better get done right.”
– Tom Gillaspy, Minnesota state demographer

“Ten years ago , we were lucky . . . just to have an overall county-level count of the response rate at this time. Now we’ve got it at the (census) tract level. That’s phenomenal.”
– Kim Brace, Election Data Services

Although the large formal training sessions ended two weeks ago, Census 2010 supervisors and canvassers continue to meet informally in the Haysville Community Library on an almost daily basis. They’re making excellent progress, but much remains to be done.

The results are vitally important. At stateline.org, Daniel C. Vock reviews the efforts in Minnesota and several other states to assure an accurate and complete count in the 2010 Census in States Seek Census Tactics That Work.

As Vock observes, in these times of fiscal duress, the economic impact of a census undercount on states and metropolitan areas can be particularly hurtful. In an 18-page report by Price Waterhouse Coopers following the last census, Effect of Census 2000 Undercount on Federal Funding to States and Selected Counties, 2002-2012 — part of a larger report to Congress – the authors concluded that for just “the eight federal grant programs included in this study, the Census 2000 undercount is estimated to cause the District of Columbia and the 31 states adversely affected by the undercount to lose $4.1 billion in federal funding over the 2002-2012 fiscal year period” and that “the federal funding loss to the 58 largest counties adversely affected by the undercount is estimated to reach $3.6 billion over the ten year period, or $2,913 per uncounted person in these jurisdictions.”

Quite as important as dollars, representation is also at stake in the Census. The state demographer of Minnesota quoted above believes that a difference of 1,000 people in the 2010 Census may well cost his state a representative. “‘It doesn’t get much closer than that,’ muses Gillaspy . . . Miss just two college dorms – say, by counting them in June instead of April – and there goes the state’s eighth congressional seat.”

Two earlier stateline.org articles on the politics of redistricting (here and here) provided slightly varying graphic illustrations of the estimated impact of the 2010 Census on state representation. Here’s the more recent of the two:

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Published in: on May 15, 2010 at 11:31 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] a bit more on the question of reapportionment, see our earlier post Census Count Continues, the Census 2000 Brief on Congressional Reapportionment published in July 2001, Southern Studies’ […]


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