KC Region Kicks-Off One Year Countdown

3/8/2019 12:00:00 AM

Local Governments and Community Join Efforts

Marking the one-year countdown to Census Day, April 1, 2020, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) is joining forces with philanthropic partners, local government and other community leaders to achieve a complete and accurate count of the region’s population. Census data determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives; is used to redraw federal, state, and local election districts; and provides the basis for distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support programs in states and local communities. 

With funding support from the Health Forward Foundation and the REACH Healthcare Foundation, MARC recently convened the first meeting of the Kansas City Regional Complete Count Committee, which includes local government officials, community-based organization and business representatives, faith-based leaders, school officials and others.

“It’s important we work together at the regional level to ensure every person is counted,” said REACH President and CEO Brenda Sharpe. “This grassroots effort, led by trusted voices in the community, will result in a more comprehensive count that will benefit our region, especially individuals who are most vulnerable.”

Over the next year, the committee will work to:

  • Promote the census through locally based, targeted outreach efforts.
  • Coordinate a regional information campaign.
  • Assist local communities in supporting their own complete count committees.
  • Engage hard-to-count populations.
  • Increase digital access to online census forms.

In the 2010 Census, experts estimate that the census undercounted the population by 1 percent. The undercount was even higher for minorities — an estimated 2.1 percent of blacks and 1.5 percent of Hispanics were missed. A similar undercount in 2020 could cost the Kansas City region more than $48 million each year over the next decade.

The 2020 census offers options for residents to complete their forms by phone, mail, and for the first time, online. People will be encouraged to use the online option if possible. In mid-March 2020, most addresses in the United States will receive a postcard with instructions on how to participate. Federal law requires everyone living in the nation to complete the census survey.