April 28, 2020
Pope County Judge Ben Cross
Atkins Mayor Rowdy Sweet
Dover Mayor Roger Lee
Hector Mayor Carey McGee
London Mayor Eddie Price
Pottsville Mayor Randy Tankersly
Russellville Mayor Richard Harris
SUBJECT: CENSUS 2020
In a joint press release, all the mayors of Pope County's six incorporated municipalities, along with County Judge Ben Cross, would like to remind everyone of the pivotal importance of participating in the current 2020 census that is already underway. The census is each communities' opportunity to "stand up and be counted," and is virtually the only mechanism by which schools, cities, and counties can receive federal, state, and grant funding.
The census is the very tool utilized to afford individual representation on everything from local city councils to the U.S. Congress, and redistricting will occur following this census which will affect that representation for another decade.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports Pope County missed out on 28% of the population in the 2000 census and 26% of the population in the 2010 census equating to 15,438 residents who were not included in our 2010 count. This means our 2010 census of 61,754 should have realistically been 77,192. To put this into perspective, Governor Asa Hutchinson, in one of his recent daily press briefings, focused directly on the financial impact of the census to the state of Arkansas. He stated each person missed in the census count is worth $3,000 in federal turnback funds over the life of the census. To put that into local economic impact, that means the 15,438 persons missed in the 2010 census equaled $46,314,000 in lost federal monies over the last decade to Pope County and its' cities. With over 46 million dollars in impact to Pope County alone, the figures for the entire state of Arkansas reach into the billions in lost federal funding.
In light of our current conditions in respect to the coronavirus and its' extensive media coverage, we just want to emphasize the current census is of extreme importance and encourage our residents to participate as soon as possible. The numbers are reflected by the current Pope County participation rates as of this week:
Pope County Overall: 50.8%
As you can see, with barely a 50% participation rate, our communities, schools, and equity in funding, are at significant risk for the next decade. You can track your community at: https://2020census.gov/en/response-rates.html
The census participation has become easier to access than ever before with a first-time entirely online version in addition to traditional mail out varieties, and by phone. The simplest method involves just clicking on the link: my2020census.gov The average census count takes less than 10 minutes to complete, yet will benefit your community for the next 10 years.
The Pope County Library System has graciously taken the initiative and task of being the point of contact for anyone seeking information or assistance with completing their 2020 census return, and they may be reached at 968-4368. PCLS has trained individuals willing to assist anyone in Pope County who requests it.
Finally, we encourage every resident to immediately complete their 2020 census and let your voice be heard. Taking part in the census dates back to 1790, and by constitutional standards, has been deemed as important as your right to vote; it's a way to participate in our democracy and say, "I COUNT!"