Experts concerned about possibly undercounting Arkansas population in 2020 Census

By Matthew Mershon
Reporter, Published Channel 7, KATV, Tuesday, October 17th 2017

That simple survey we receive in the mail every ten years does a lot more than just count us; that count better known as the Census is used to help distribute hundreds of billions of dollars in federal assistance, and Arkansas has missed out in the past due to undercounting the population.

Population in Arkansas is already dwindling due to natural causes like birth rate, death rate and fewer people moving to the Natural State.

“Fewer births, more deaths, less migration means less population overall,” said Pam Willrodt, Arkansas Economic Development Institute demographer. “So if we have population that’s breathing right now, we need to count them.”

But according to statistics from Price Waterhouse Cooper, in the 2000 Census, Arkansas managed to undercount its population by more than 34,000 people. Putting that into perspective, that’s like forgetting to count the whole city of Bryant – twice.

If the state managed to undercount its population again in 2020 by just one-percent, it could result in up to $7.5 million lost annually in federal funding – roughly $2,542 for every uncounted Arkansan. That’s according to The George Washington University’s study titled Counting for Dollars 2020, based on Fiscal Year 2015 numbers. The study only takes into account the top 16 largest federal assistance programs that distribute funds based on Census data – with nearly 300 federal assistance programs actually using Census data to distribute federal dollars.

“Fewer births, more deaths, less migration means less population overall,” said Pam Willrodt, Arkansas Economic Development Institute demographer. “So if we have population that’s breathing right now, we need to count them.”

But according to statistics from Price Waterhouse Cooper, in the 2000 Census, Arkansas managed to undercount its population by more than 34,000 people. Putting that into perspective, that’s like forgetting to count the whole city of Bryant – twice.

If the state managed to undercount its population again in 2020 by just one-percent, it could result in up to $7.5 million lost annually in federal funding – roughly $2,542 for every uncounted Arkansan. That’s according to The George Washington University’s study titled Counting for Dollars 2020, based on Fiscal Year 2015 numbers. The study only takes into account the top 16 largest federal assistance programs that distribute funds based on Census data – with nearly 300 federal assistance programs actually using Census data to distribute federal dollars.

See full article at katv.com

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