Officials Counting On 2010 Census

By: Michel Mason Email
By: Michel Mason Email

We're talking about the 2010 Census.

While it's a year away, work is already beginning in several counties to make sure there's an accurate count this time around.

Hazard and Perry County officials learned a hard lesson in 2000.

"If we don't count it right the first time, there's no second time," said Mayor Bill Gorman.

Fire Chief Sam Stacy and county leaders already met with census officials to begin planning for 2010. The last census count showed Eastern Kentucky population on a decline, but when Stacy and others recounted they found at least 10,000 more people in the county, and about 5,000 in the city. The recount took four months and the census only gave them credit for one person.

"We discovered that a lot of the households there that they were counting as a single family residence was actually a two to four family apartment," said Stacy.

Officials say they used the same maps and formula from the census to do their recount.

"It might of worked in New York City or San Francisco, but it certainly won't work in the mountains of Kentucky because when you come to four corners sometimes it's on top of a mountain," said Gorman.

And missing all of those people affects money for school systems, road projects and how congressional districts are decided.

Officials say the 2010 survey is much easier, with only 10 questions to fill out.

"It will be very simple and if anyone needs any assistance filling out those forms anyone at the city would be more than glad to help them with that," said Stacy.

They plan to use festivals, school events and other methods to reach out to people before the count so they understand why it's important to be included.

Pike and Floyd counties experienced similar problems in the 2000 count. Leaders there are also meeting with census officials to make sure everyone is included in 2010.

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