The Reno Gazette-Journal Fact Checks the Census Bureau…
A nice piece from Nevada:
Fact checker: Census value rounded up — way up
By Kelly Scott
Last week, a news release from Nevada Census 2010 claimed that “for every resident counted, Nevada stands to receive nearly $10,000 each year of our fair share of federal funding during the next decade.”
Being that Thursday was the once-in-a-decade census day, I decided to see how that number actually breaks down.
Reno Gazette-Journal articles have reported that the state gets “more than $900 a year per person in federal tax dollars” each year for the next decade based on census answers.
The census is used to calculate the numbers for a great deal of federal funding and other things. Among the types of programs based on census results are the Washoe County School District’s free lunch program, transportation funding and money to help senior citizens. Census numbers are used to divvy up seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Analysis of the numbers
My first thought was that there was a rounding error in the numbers. Maybe the news release just rounded up?
Well, here’s how it breaks down according to our data guru Mark Robison:
Nevada gets $917 a year per person in federal funds because of census data. That adds up to $9,170 per person over 10 years, not $10,000 over a single year. Robison said he thinks the official state news release we received was likely an honest mistake because other promotional materials have used $10,000 per decade as the amount of additional funding the state stands to receive per person. But that still rounds up $9,170 to $10,000, when customary rounding would normally lower the figure to $9,000.
To find the source of the funds-per-resident claim, Robison dug into a SAGE Commission report sent to Gov. Jim Gibbons last year that urged the state to actually spend money on trying to get people to participate in the census because the state stood to gain more than what it likely would spend.
Here’s an excerpt from the report: “According to the Census Bureau, over $3 trillion in funding is allocated nationwide based on census figures. In 2000, the Legislative Counsel Bureau estimated that the state lost $670 per person per year for every Nevadan missed by the 2000 Census. Recently, the Legislative Counsel Bureau, Nevada State Data Center, and Nevada State Demographer came together to update that figure for 2010. Due to the combined effects of inflation and expanded federal investment returning to Nevada, their collective estimate is that Nevada will now lose $917 per person per year for every Nevadan missed in the 2010 Census.”
For the rest of the article click HERE.