The ever-changing Census 2020 deadline has changed again, this time to Monday, Oct. 5, so what does that mean for Arizona and cities like Litchfield Park and Goodyear?
The longer the count goes, the more accurate the count. The more accurate the count, the more money for programs and services.
As of Monday, Sept. 28, the number of Arizona households counted was 97%, compared to 98.4% of the nation’s households according to the census website, 2020census.gov.
Of those households, 63.5% in Arizona self-responded to the census questionnaire mailed in March and the remaining 33.5% were counted by census-takers going door-to-door. Nationally, the self-response rate was 66.5%, with the remaining 31.9% counted by census-takers.
By comparison, the number of households in Idaho, Maine, Puerto Rico, Vermont and West Virgina counted stood at 99.9%
While it may not seem like a big deal to come it an 97% of households counted, in reality it could be devastating in terms of Congressional representation and the amount of money the state and it’s counties and cities receive annually until the next census in 2030.
The census touches nearly every aspect of life in America, including:
Congressional representation. A larger population may mean a larger voice in Congress. A fast-growing state like Arizona could pick up another seat in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives based on the 2020 count.
States’ share of $1.5 trillion in federal tax revenue distribution. Arizona receives $2,959 per person in federal dollars annually, according to the Census Bureau. That money funds everything from Medicare and other health care programs for children and adults, to Head Start and school lunches, to road, highway and other infrastructure projects.
For every Arizonan who isn’t uncounted, the state stands to lose $887 in federal funding, according to azcensus2020.gov, the state’s informational website on the 2020 Census. If just 1% of the state’s population is undercounted, Arizona would lose $62 million annually, for a total loss of $620 million through 2030, the website states.
Commerce. Businesses use the data collected to determine where to open new stores, restaurants, factories and offices, where to expand operations, where to recruit employees and which products and services to offer.
Real estate. Developers use census data to decide the location and type of housing to build based on population count and community demographics. The West Valley has become a hotbed of development, and an undercount could result in companies choosing to bypass cities like Goodyear and Litchfield Park.
Grassroots. Residents use the census to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life and consumer advocacy.
An accurate count ensures Arizona cities get their fair share of population-based state-shared revenues from sales, income, vehicle license and gas taxes.
Those revenues compose about a quarter of both Goodyear and Litchfield Park’s general fund budgets, allowing each city to provide recreation programming, parks maintenance and development, police and fire coverage, and street repairs and maintenance, among other services.
Results of the 2020 Census could change cities’ annual per-person allocation, so an accurate count is critical.
Based on 2010 Census results, Goodyear receives $343 per person in state-shared revenue annually, which equaled about $25.6 million in fiscal 2020. The 2010 Census recorded Goodyear’s population as 65,275. In 2018, an estimated 82,835 people called the city home.
In March, Goodyear City Manager Julie Arendall said 2019 estimates put the population at just under 89,000.
As of Sept. 28, Goodyear’s self-response rate was 69.1%, up from 68.1% in 2010.
In 2010, 98% of Litchfield Park residents were counted, which resulted in the city receiving $344 per person as part of its annual cut of state-shared revenues.
The 2010 Census recorded Litchfield Park’s population as 5,476. The 2015 mid-decade count recorded the city’s population as 6,152, and in 2019, the population was estimated at 6,809. In March, Management Assistant Sonny Culbreth predicted the population will top 7,000.
“At $344 per person, that would be an additional $500,000,” in the city’s general fund budget annually, Assistant City Manager Matthew Williams said at the time.
As of Sept. 28, Litchfield Park’s self-response rate was 73.5% compared to 64.8% in 2010.In addition to determining the number of
Kelly O’Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-963-1697.