July 24, 2014

Last year’s floods could impact 2010 Census in Iowa

Iowa had the best rate in the country for returning census forms in the 2000 Census, but last year’s floods and other factors may make it hard to repeat that good performance in the upcoming 2010 count. Seventy-six-percent of Iowans returned their forms last time, compared with 67% nationwide.

Beth Henning of the State Data Center is the Iowa liaison for the U.S. Census Bureau says Iowans’ civic-mindedness played a role in the good return rate, along with a high rate of home ownership. But she says this time it’s going to be hard to count everyone who lost their homes in the floods.

“The Census Bureau can’t be certain that those housing units are vacant so they have to go make sure that they’re vacant,” Henning says. Henning says there will be an extra push to count every resident with congressional seats on the line. Minnesota for example, is on the bubble for losing a congressional seat

She says it’s a matter of a few thousand people who could make the difference in the Minnesota county.The Census Bureau has already hired hundreds of Iowans to help with the count. Henning says we could start seeing some local promotional ads soon as Iowa communities gear up to get every resident counted.Census forms go out next February.