Officials urge Kansans to be counted in CensusScott Rothschild
Kansas officials are urging school leaders, counties and cities to help people get counted as soon as possible by the U.S. Census because a political battle is raging about when to stop the once-a-decade count.
An undercount in the Census will mean less federal funding for a wide range of services, which could lead to overcrowded classrooms, inadequate health care and many other service shortages. Here is a link to a toolkit to help educators make sure that all students and their families are counted.
Based on population, Kansas receives approximately $6 billion annually though many different federal programs, such as Title 1, IDEA Special Education funding, school lunch programs and more. Every uncounted person costs the state of Kansas approximately $2,082 per year in federal funds.
The Census also determines how many U.S. House members each state will have and the boundaries of U.S. House, state legislative and local voting districts.
Because of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census Bureau extended field operations for the head count from the end of July to the end of October. But recently the Census Bureau announced it will stop door-knocking and the ability for households to respond online, by phone or mail to the Census questionnaire at the end of September.
Census Bureau officials say they need to end the count earlier to meet an end-of-year deadline to provide the data needed for congressional redistricting.
But shortening the response time by one month has raised concerns that there will be an undercount, especially among minority communities and children.
House Democrats have voted to extend the counting deadlines, while the Republican-controlled Senate hasn’t acted. The issue may be part of negotiations over a COVID-19 stimulus package.
So far, Kansas has a response rate of 66.8 percent, which is above the national response rate of 63 percent. The response rate measures how many households responded to the 2020 Census online, by mail, or by phone.
For more information about the Census go to kansascounts.org or to be counted go to 2020census.gov.