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Census count determines federal funding

2010 census is shorter than years past

Staff writer

Responding to the U.S. Census is important because more than $400 billion of federal funds are apportioned each year based on population, Topeka Local Census Office Manager Nancee Torkelson said Thursday.

Food programs, adult education, and social services are among the programs funded based on population, she said.

Population is one eligibility factor in all state and federal grant and loan programs, so accurate population information is important for agencies relying on those programs, Marion County Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman said.

Census results can also be used to set the direction a community is headed, Peabody Main Street Association Executive Director Shane Marler said. The national trend is for small towns to get smaller while larger cities grow. If census results show a small community bucking the trend, that may indicate revitalization efforts are working.

The Census Bureau estimates 70 percent of Marion County residents responded to the 2000 census. The Kansas response rate was 68 percent.

“We’re looking to get that percentage up dramatically,” Torkelson said.

One way the bureau is attempting to increase participation is by reducing the number of questions. The 2010 census includes 10 questions, in contrast to more than 100 questions on the 2000 long form.

The bureau estimates the shorter form will take 10 minutes to fill out on average. Age and ethnic background will be among the questions on the census, Torkelson said.

Many of the more specialized questions from previous census forms are part of other ongoing Census Bureau operations, she said.

The Census Bureau will mail questionnaires beginning in April, with a second mailing to follow. When both mailings are completed, door-to-door operations will begin.

With the door-to-door and other operations, jobs will be available to residents, Marion Economic Development Director Doug Kjellin said.

It is important for everyone to respond to the census, because businesses want to locate in cities that are on the upswing, Hillsboro Mayor Delores Dalke said. Small towns should do everything they can to get full credit for their population, she said.

“There isn’t any reason we shouldn’t be able to find everybody,” Dalke said.

2000 census results

  • Marion County 13,361
  • Burns 268
  • Durham 114
  • Florence 671
  • Goessel 565
  • Lehigh 215
  • Lincolnville 225
  • Lost Springs 71
  • Ramona 94
  • Hillsboro 2,854
  • Marion 2,110
  • Peabody 1,384
  • Tampa 144

Last modified Jan. 13, 2010

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