Census Numbers Are In: Winners, Losers, Reality

December 21, 2010

(ChattahBox Op/Ed News) – Today marks the beginning of significant change for all Americans as the U.S. Census commences the release of vital information as the 2010 count of all Americans unfolds and for some states the impact of that information will be either dreadful news or cause for celebration.  As the many uses of the Census beyond just a count of how many of us there are, the political makeup of the country and the distribution of Federal dollars are prominent indicators in these numbers and the impact they have on you and your community.

Whether you filled out the mailed forms, and returned them, as 74% percent of us did, or you received a personal visit from a Census worker, the heavy work of the count is done and the harder work of shifting dollars and Congressional seats begins.

The Constitution requires that a Census be conducted every decade to track population shifts and trends and to determine the count of how many Americans there are; 174 million households received the ten question form, the shortest form in the history of the Census.

The envelope please…

I live in Michigan where the Census will tell a story of woe and as an example of what happens now it will go something like this:

Michigan will discover that as a result of a depressed economy and a manufacturing industry that has been dealt a death blow over the last ten years a large percentage of Michigan’s population has relocated to other parts of the country.  Michigan is most certainly to lose one Congressional seat, if not two.  It also means that Michigan is also apt to lose Federal funding.

Continuing on with my personal example, as part of the process the Census sets in place as Michigan’s lost population mandates, a process that will happen all across the land is a nifty little thing called reapportionment or redistricting where politicians look at the current Congressional districts and state districts and redraw them according to population shifts within our own states.  This is a highly politicized process that favors the majority in each state, in my case the recent slaughter of Democrats as Michigan went from a solidly Blue state to a remarkably bright Red State in one simple election.  Let the posturing begin.

This process will happen all across the country in varying forms as each state looks at their populations and draws critical lines that affect everyone in that state.  And as Michigan is sure to lose members of Congress other states are set to gain a seat or two, increasing their opportunities for Federal funding.

Although I realize that this discussion is not terribly sexy, the fallout of the Census is a critical function of government and places a great deal of weight on the process of counting how many of us there are and just where we do live.  You can clearly see now why the Census makes such a gigantic effort and to be sure that every person is counted and why every municipality works so closely with the Census Bureau to make sure as many people as possible are counted and that the count is accurate.

But the other impact of the Census is also the Electorate College, which again is another measure of the Census count.  The more population you have the more electoral votes your state has.

Of the projected winners in the population count, further Congressional seats and a better chance at more Federal dollars are Texas, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington State.

Projected population losers are: Ohio, New York, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Please note for future reference that the majority of population loses are in Blue states and the population gains are in Red states.  What that eventually means will be saved for a future conversation.

You should be paying attention because in 2012 when the next national election takes place the entire numbers game changes.  I realize that when the government starts spouting numbers and figures it’s easy to have your eyes glaze over and for you to quickly find the remote and change the channel, but fight that urge and make an effort to understand that the Census has a larger impact on your local community than perhaps you realized and by paying attention you will better understand what is going on in your own community.

So if you Senator or local councilman is a bit surely over the course of this information being released maybe now you’ll understand the impact of the count, for better or for worse.

Tony Trupiano is a former national syndicated progressive radio talk show host, author, and a former candidate for Congress. He is also a nationally recognized media trainer.  He can be reached at tony@mediatony.com and can read his Blog at http://www.mediatraining.me


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