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Census 2000 Undercount Cost La. About $69 Million

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March 9, 2010

Contact:

Renee McMillion Clark, Media Specialist

US Census Bureau – Dallas Regional Census Center

Cell: 972-489-0693; Hotline:  214-637-9698

E-mail: renee.m.clark@census.gov

Study Shows Communities Underfunded For Vital Services

Louisiana residents are still feeling the economic impact of an undercount from the 2000 Census, when the national headcount missed nearly 61,000 people in Louisiana, according to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers study commissioned after the last count.

The undercount resulted in about $68.8 million in less federal cash distributed to Louisiana because the government largely bases its expenditures on Census data, according to the PriceWaterHouseCoopers study.

The study found that Louisiana had one of the highest undercount rates in the nation, about 79 percent higher than the national average. PriceWaterhouseCoopers totaled up financial obligations and grants that would have been funded after a complete Census count to determine the lost dollar figure. The programs that would have been more fully funded include addiction services, Medicaid assistance, vocational education and foster care. The PriceWaterhouseCoopers study calculated that each Louisianan who went uncounted in 2000 effectively reduced federal funding to schools, hospitals, foster care providers and other services by $1,133 over 10 years. The PriceWaterhouseCoopers study was commissioned by the U.S. Census Monitoring Board.

The study’s results underscore the importance that every household return its 2010 Census form when it’s delivered beginning in mid-March in Texas and other states in the country, said Gabriel Sanchez, director of the Dallas Regional Census Center.

“These numbers illustrate the power of each Census form,” said Sanchez. “Those who don’t complete and return their Census questionnaires are doing more than just inconveniencing Census workers. They’re reducing aid to people and communities that need it.”

The PriceWaterhouseCoopers study found that the 2000 Census undercounted about 3.4 million people nationwide, an undercount rate of 1.18 percent. In Louisiana, where about 18 percent of all individuals live in poverty, the undercount rate was 2.1 percent. PriceWaterhouseCoopers projected that nationally, the undercount would reduce net federal funds to states by $4.1 billion over the 10-year period of 2002 through 2012. Medicaid was projected to comprise about 92 percent of the $4.1 billion shortfall.

Everyone is urged to complete and mail back the Census questionnaire by Census Day, April 1, to be certain you’re counted. If they don’t, the U.S. Census bureau will send workers knocking on doors in May and June to obtain the data. It costs taxpayers more an average $57 to personally collect the information from each household that fail to mail it back, compared to the 42 cents for postage.

Sanchez said that, because this decade’s questionnaire is the shortest in modern history – consisting of 10 straightforward questions that should take about 10 minutes to answer – everyone should fill out the questionnaires and return them by mail.

The Census Bureau’s decennial Census amounts to the nation’s largest domestic undertaking; it’s the biggest survey taken of the United States, covering 130 million households. The data collected gives planners information to decide where best to build hospitals, schools and libraries. Businesses will use the information for marketing and for planning expansions. Census numbers will decide which states will gain or lose congressional seats. The data also helps guide the spending of more than $400 billion in federal money each year.

Those who have questions about their 2010 Census questionnaires, or need help filling out the form, call 1-866-872-6868.

The Census Bureau is still hiring those to help take a complete count. At its peak, the Census Bureau will need about 1.4 million temporary workers to knock on doors and to perform other tasks. Those interested should call 866-861-2010 to schedule a qualifying employment test. They can also visit the 2010 Census jobs site at http://2010.census.gov/2010censusjobs//.

To view a full copy of the PriceWaterhouseCoopers study, go to http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/cmb/cmbp/reports/080601.pricewaterhouse/downloads.asp.htm

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Written by demon53

March 13, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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