Social Compact urges cities to review census estimate

Billions in federal funding affected by just-released census numbers

(July 9, 2008, WASHINGTON, DC) – With hundreds of billions of dollars at stake, Social Compact President and nationally recognized expert John Talmage is urging city leaders to closely examine the annual population estimates being released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday in order to ensure that their residents are being counted accurately.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the decennial count directly impacts the yearly allocation of more than $200 billion in federal funding to states, cities, and municipalities. “A majority of private investment decisions are based on these numbers,” Talmage noted. “For this reason, it is critical that cities take a close look at their own data as well as the census calculations derived from it.

“The U.S. Census Bureau is gearing up for the decennial census and is working with local governments to improve the accuracy of the 2010 Census,” said Talmage. “Their desire for the best count ensures that every person is counted and counted correctly.”

Social Compact is providing technical assistance to several cities to attain a more accurate count. In Detroit, Michigan, 47,000 residents have been added back to its population since 2006.

“The Census’s annual estimate is based on a city’s or municipality’s housing unit counts,” Talmage added. “This data is housed and managed by the localities themselves, so the cities are their own best sources to ensure the accurate count of their population.

“Social Compact encourages cities to take a proactive approach and helps them not only standardize their data to submit a successful challenge to the Census Bureau, but navigate the process and facilitate communication with the bureau as well,” Talmage said.

Cincinnati, Ohio successfully challenged the city’s 2005 population estimate, resulting in an additional 22,582 people. This 7.3% increase over the original estimate negated the population decline that was projected from the 2000 Census.

“Our successful challenge had a dramatic effect in the perception of Cincinnati. The negative number had been a dark cloud over the city, but our challenge made people recognize all of the new development and progress throughout our city,” said Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory. “Mayors need to lead the way and actively work with the Census Bureau to get the most accurate population estimate for their cities.

Since challenging the estimates, Mallory has established the Cincinnati Complete Count Committee, with the dual purpose of improving its counting system and raising public awareness on the importance of being counted.

The Census Bureau encourages the active participation of local governments through its Complete Count Committee program (CCC) and Local Update of Census Addresses program n(LUCA). LUCA helps the bureau develop its Master Address File, which will be used for the 2010 Census.

Social Compact encourages local governments to work closely with the Census Bureau throughout the census process by providing the data the bureau needs and encouraging residents to respond to Census surveys in order to ensure a more accurate count of their
citizens.

About Social Compact

Social Compact is a national not-for-profit organization, led by a board of business leaders, whose mission is to help strengthen neighborhoods by stimulating private market investment in underserved and undervalued communities. Social Compact accomplishes this through its Neighborhood Market DrillDown analytic tool, developed
to accurately measure community economic indicators, and provides this information as a resource to community organizations, government decision makers and the private
sector. Social Compact is at the forefront of identifying the market potential of underserved neighborhoods.