Groves: Special Gulf Coast Count is ‘Fair Thing To Do’
After the large-scale displacement of Gulf Coast residents during the 2005 hurricanes, local governments and community groups are calling for a special count of the region — and Census Bureau director Robert Groves agrees, according to local paper the Shreveport Times.
“The fair thing to do for the country is to do another count of that area later on,” Groves said in an interview with the paper. “They’re rebuilding. They want more people there. People are coming back.”
A special count would make up for the fact that many of the region’s residents still will not have returned by the April 1, 2010 deadline.
The separate count — which would not take place until at least 2012 — is not uncommon. Groves told the Shreveport Times that the Census Bureau has conducted more than 300 special counts since the last Census in 2000, primarily for growing communities looking for more federal funding.
But the major obstacle still facing the region, the article explains, is how to pay for this count:
Groves said the governments could seek federal or private funding.
Marc Morial, chairman of the Census Bureau’s 2010 Census Advisory Committee and president of the National Urban League, said Congress could include the cost of the special census in the 2011 budget.
But congressional lawmakers, including Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., chairman of a subcommittee that oversees the Census Bureau, have raised concerns about the cost.
Despite the cost, Groves was optimistic that the region could find funding for a special count if there’s enough interest in the idea.
“I’m not saying it’s cheap, but somehow other areas have gotten the political will to assemble the money,” he told the Shreveport Times. “It is a matter of will.”
The Census Bureau already plans to take special measures in the region for 2010′s major count, such as going door-to-door to make sure residents receive their questionnaires.