Expecting a 'Full' Census in Your State? Uh, About That

The once-in-a-decade count begins in January
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 23, 2019 2:10 PM CST
Expecting a 'Full' Census in Your State? Maybe Don't
In this Aug. 13, 2019, file photo a worker gets ready to pass out instructions in how fill out the 2020 census during a town hall meeting in Lithonia, Ga.   (AP Photo/John Amis, File)

With billions in federal aid and seats in Congress at stake, some states are dragging their feet in carrying out one of the Census Bureau's chief recommendations for making sure everyone is counted during the 2020 census, the AP reports. Five states—Florida, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas—have not set up "complete count committees" that would create public awareness campaigns to encourage people to fill out the questionnaires. In some of those states, politicians argued that a statewide body would be unnecessary, since local committees, cities, and nonprofit organizations are already working to publicize the census. In others, state leaders didn't see any urgency to act. The once-a-decade count of the US population starts in January in a remote area of Alaska.

Six states—Iowa, Maine, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin—only got on board in the past several weeks. Officials say the committees can separate census winners from losers. "Complete count committees are extremely effective," said Albert Fontenot, an associate director at the Census Bureau. "It's in the states' interests in that they get a funding flow and congressional seats." Of the holdout states, all but Louisiana have Republican governors. In Texas, it seems some lawmakers were worried about losing their seats during redistricting if population surges favoring Democrats were found. And some lawmakers didn't want to promote Trump's controversial citizenship question by promoting the census. Click for the full story. (The Census Bureau released immigration data you might find surprising.)

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