RINCON — It’s nearly time for people in the U.S. to stand up and be counted.
The U.S. Census Bureau will soon start gathering data that is used to determine how many representatives each state gets in Congress and how an estimated $880 billion a year in federal tax funding is shared.
Questions about age, gender and race will be asked.
“Yes, as always, the census affects all areas of government funding: local government grants for housing and economic development; assistance with economic development; school redistricting; and voting districts,” said LaMeisha Hunter Kelly, Rincon’s city planner.
City officials believe a few hundred Rincon residents weren’t counted in 2010.
“Our official 2010 count was 8,843 but we knew that we had at least 9,204,” Kelly said.
The City of Rincon didn’t challenge the discrepancy despite having evidence in the number of residents it serves with water/trash pickup.
“The cost for a new count was approximately $100,000, which was not cost effective at that time," Kelly said.
The City of Rincon is confident it will show substantial growth in the next count.
“We hope to be around 12,000 for 2020,” Kelly said.
The U.S. Constitution requires that the government conduct a population count every 10 years. The initial one occurred in 1790.
Until 1970, census takers went door to door to collect information from every household. At that point, the Census Bureau started mailing out the questionnaires and allowing the responses to be mailed back.
In 2020, there are even more options for responding to the census, including online.
“If people do not follow up (by providing information), then I think (the U.S. Census Bureau) will be sending out census workers to homes,” Kelly said.
Kelly said the City of Rincon is considering forming a committee that would be tasked with educating citizens about the census and helping some fill out the on-line forms.