Office of Administration Commissioner Kelvin Simmons says this is the final push to get people counted as a July 10 deadline has been imposed to get Missouri’s numbers to the federal government.
Simmons says the number of foreclosures has made counting everyone more difficult this year than in decades past, since determining whether a house is occupied or not plays a big role in conducting the census.
About 73 percent of all Missourians have been counted, compared to a 72 percent national average. Simmons says Missouri is on track for our return numbers ten years ago.
Simmons says we do stand a chance of losing a seat in congress if other states show a higher population shift. He says Minnesota faces the same risk so that state has spent more than four million dollars to assist their complete count, resulting in a high participation rate … about 80 percent.
He says Arkansas is at 67 percent; Oklahoma at 66 percent, Kansas is at 75 percent, Illinois at 75 percent.
“We’re kind of in the middle of ourselves, we’re ahead of the national average and we’re ahead of ourselves the last ten years.”
Regarding the risk of losing a seat in Congress, Simmons says Minnesota is at the same risk, “so they spent over $4 million dollars to assist their state and to assist their local complete count committees to make sure they had a high participation rate. And they do have one of the higher percentage rates in the country, almost 80 percent and above … we still have some locations in the southwest and southeastern parts of the state that are below the national average and we’re going to do what we can to increase their participation rates.”
The Census Bureau’s Telephone Questionnaire Assistance line will remain open until July 10. Anyone who has not received a form or a visit from a Census enumerator should call 866-872-6868. For Spanish-language operators, call 866-928-2010.
“For the past few months, we’ve communicated with all residents about how important, easy and safe it is to get counted,” Simmons says. “We’ve used traditional and new media to reach as many people as possible with our message. There are still a few weeks to make sure every single person in Missouri is counted and we need that to happen.”
“Funding and representation make this count crucial to the state. Missouri will keep or lose its ninth Congressional seat by a very narrow margin. Losing that seat means less representation for the state at the federal level. Additionally, estimates are that the state receives up to $1,300 for every person included in the count. Those dollars go for services such as road and other infrastructure maintenance and repair as well as schools, support for senior citizens and many other items that residents use every day.”