Gov. Hutchinson, Fort Smith mayor push for Census response to help fund ‘things we care about’

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 536 views 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Fort Smith Mayor George McGill on Friday (July 24) encouraged Arkansans to “do their job” and respond to the U.S. Census before the count is completed Oct. 31.

The Census push, part of the governor’s daily COVID-19 briefing, was geared toward reminding Arkansans to fill out a Census form or expect a Census employee to knock on their door in the near future. Gov. Hutchinson said “we need everybody to do their job, to participate in the census” so that Arkansas has a “complete count.”

As of Friday, Arkansas’ Census response rate was 57.1%, which was ranked 41st in the nation. The national average is 62.4%. Arkansas’ final rate in 2010 was 62.3%. Arkansas’ population following the 2010 Census was 2.916 million, and the population estimate as of July 1, 2019, was 3.017 million.

McGill, who is also chairman of the Arkansas Counts Committee, said federal funding to support Arkansas programs depends on as complete a Census response as possible.

“Keep in mind, the things we care about, education, roads, taking care of our senior citizens, all of these things are heavily dependent on the funding that we get from the federal government, and those numbers are driven by the data found in the Census,” Mayor McGill said Friday.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the census provides “data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.” Census results also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives and are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts. The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time the country has counted its population since 1790.

McGill noted the top 10 counties in terms of Census response rates.
Faulkner: 65.4%
Lonoke: 65.3%
Benton: 65.2%
Greene: 64.1%
Baxter: 63.1%
Washington: 62.6%
Sebastian: 62.3%
Boone: 62.1%
Pope: 61.8%
Saline: 61.7%

There are numerous ways to respond to the Census. Link here to the Arkansas Counts website to find forms and more Census info.