Census 2010: Atlantans could lose $1 billion in federal investment

Manny Diaz is the former mayor of Miami and he and I were colleagues when he served as president of the US Conference of Mayors (USCM). His recent commentary in the Miami Herald aptly captures the impact of how a census undercount can devastate American cities. His assessment of the criticality of an accurate census counts for cities, and their residents hits home. For a decade Atlanta has experienced unprecedented intown development, an increased demand for municipal services, while barely increasing in population. according to the 2010 Census – after a decade of Census estimates of substantial population growth and the 2000 Census correction 6 years ago. The USCM has estimated that there is a $2,000 loss of federal funds per person per annum for every person undercounted. At this rate, in Atlanta an undercount of 50,000 could mean an annual loss of $100 million of investments and benefits to people who live and work in the city.

While some may debate whether residents have indeed left the city, it should be noted that a loss of residents in the city limits does not decrease the services that the city must provide to hundreds of thousands of people who come to the city every day for commerce, education, work and recreation. Atlantans of the early 20th century foretold of Atlanta as the economic, cultural and transportation of the Southeast region. Atlanta has grown to be that center.

Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta, a Democrat, said the extra $161 million could have had an ”amazing impact” on the financial problems now plaguing both urban and rural hospitals in Georgia that depend on Medicaid. Medicaid is by far the largest federal program that uses the Census to allocate resources among the states. Under the adjusted 1990 numbers, the GAO said Georgia would have been due $150 million more in Medicaid funds during the 1990s. ”If we don’t have an accurate count, we’re going to continue to lose,” Lewis said. ”The greatest undercount tends to take place among poor and minority people.”

Currently, census data is used to distribute funds for over 170 federal programs in a variety of areas including housing, crime prevention, transportation, and job training. Accurate data ensures that funds are distributed to the areas with the most need. Inaccurate date not only results in cities losing millions of dollars in both federal and state aid, but also political representation in the U.S. House and our state legislatures.
Inaccurate census data also dramatically affects private sector investment. Accurate census figures contribute to a perception of cities as vibrant places to live and work. Retailers, financial institutions and other investors rely on census estimates to inform their decisions. In these challenging economic times, the Census Bureau’s failure to accurately count a city’s population can mean the loss of precious new jobs and investment.
Here is an opportunity to discuss the 2010 Census results
2010 Census Results and its Effects on the Georgia Latino Business Community:
Guiding a Booming Population
A discussion on the growth of the Latino community in Georgia and what the numbers mean to the state and to our businesses.
Speakers Include
Gerson Vasquez
US Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census
Partnership & Data Services Program
Anibal Torres (Invited)
MundoHispanico
Director General
Rafael E. Herrera
Lanza Group
President and Co-Founder
Thursday, April 7th 2011 at 6:30pm
LISTA Techno Centro @ Regions Bank
5935 Buford Highway Third Floor Tech Center
Norcross, Ga. 30071
Seating is Limited Please RSVP by confirming your attendance to coordinator@a-lista.org

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