Archive for December 2009

$478B IN FEDERAL FUNDS BASED ON CENSUS DATA, ACCORDING TO GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE

December 16, 2009

Need even more reason to fill out your census forms next year? Try this:

The federal government’s ten largest assistance programs used Census data to distribute an estimated $478.3 billion this year, according to a Government Accountability Office report released on Wednesday, December 16th.

The sum represents roughly 84 percent of total federal assistance, GAO said. Medicaid, highway construction funding and federal education grants were the top federal assistance programs.

Democratic lawmakers requested the new GAO estimate on behalf of the Census Bureau and private groups working to promote participation in the 2010 Census.

Federal assistance programs use a variety of formulas to determine funding, though many rely at least partially on Census Bureau data. The agency collects population, housing and demographic information from respondents that complete decennial census questionnaires. The Census Bureau also conducts its annual American Community Survey and compiles data for the monthly Current Population Survey, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to determine unemployment figures.

Here’s the estimated obligations for FY ’09 for the 10 largest federal assistance programs:

Medicaid        $266.6 billion

Highway Planning and Construction        $54.1 billion

State Fiscal Stabilization Fund — Education State Grants         $39.7 billion

Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies         $24.5 billion

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part B         $22.8 billion

Temporary Aid for Needy Families         $17.1 billion

Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers         $16.6 billion

Community Development Block Grant         $13.3 billion

Federal Transit Formula Grants Programs         $13.0 billion

Children’s Health Insurance Program         $10.6 billion

The Census Bureau has partnered with thousands of civic and religious groups and corporations to promote participation in next year’s national headcount. (Some even use Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as part of their outreach.) Wednesday’s GAO report provides census advocates with new ammunition in their efforts to convince skeptical or scared Americans to complete census questionnaires.

In a joint statement, the Democratic lawmakers that requested the report stressed the importance of an accurate count and the aggressive census outreach efforts already underway.

“If you ignore the census form, it will have an effect on your neighborhood, your town or city, your county, and your state during the next ten years,” said Rep.  Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has long concerned herself with census issues.

“This report highlights why it is so important that we get an accurate and inclusive census count next year,” said Sen.  Tom Carper (D-Del.), who chairs the Senate subcommittee on the census.

“Without an accurate census count, some states will not get their fair share of federal dollars, which could handicap local governments and the citizens they serve for the next decade,” Carper said.

PHILADELPHIA WINS CENSUS CHALLENGE, POPULATION NOW OFFICIALLY MORE THAN 1.5 MILLION

December 8, 2009

Philadelphia, December 8, 2009- For the first time ever Philadelphia has successfully challenged the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2008 estimate of its population, resulting in an official population growth of 93,000 people.  The City’s population is now reported as 1,540,351 people, a 1.5% increase in the City’s population since 2000. The William Penn Foundation and the Citi Foundation partnered to fund the City’s challenge which was conducted by Social Compact, Inc., a national non-profit advocate for accurate census estimates.

 “A successful challenge to the 2008 U.S. Census estimate of Philadelphia’s population confirms what I knew all along, Philadelphia is a growing and vibrant city,” said Mayor Nutter. “I am confident that next year’s Census will further reflect our City’s true size.   Philadelphia’s top-notch educational institutions, thriving bio-life sciences industry, abundant green space, recreational facilities, cultural gems and business opportunities are robust and some of the many reasons why people from a variety of backgrounds call this world-class city home.”

 This larger and more accurate assessment of Philadelphia’s population can positively influence national, state and local legislative redistricting efforts, federal and state funding for cities, private sector investment, municipal government administrative effectiveness and efficiency, and public perception of a municipality’s health. Although revision of the 2008 estimate won’t immediately impact funding or legislative redistricting for Philadelphia, it bolsters the City’s recently launched ‘Philly Counts!’ campaign in raising awareness and boosting participation in the 2010 Census.

 “These days, dollars are precious to families to businesses and cash-strapped cities across America” said Don Haskin, Citi Community Relations Director.  “We are happy to help Philadelphia find its fair share through an accurate census count”.

 “All Philadelphians should be very pleased with this development. Turning around a long period of population loss is a great tonic that should bolster confidence in the city’s future,” said Feather O. Houstoun, president of the William Penn Foundation

 In 2001, the U.S. Census Bureau established the Census Challenge Program to allow local governments to challenge its population estimates and the components used to derive these estimates, for the most recent year. Local governments can submit municipal data that reflect changes in a city’s housing sector, including certificates of occupancy, residential utility connections, building permit records, group quarters populations, voter registration, department of motor vehicle registrations and property assessments. Social Compact, Inc. has supported other large U.S. cities in successfully challenging U.S. Census Bureau estimates and is currently supporting the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 2010 Census Taskforce while working with the Congressional Sub-Committee responsible for overseeing the U.S. Census Bureau.