City officials want accurate census count

By Dan Wells - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory wants an accurate census count, and he's putting a value on it.

Mayor Mallory says getting the numbers right could literally mean the Queen City gains or loses. A census report sets a city's destiny for the next decade.

With that said, Cincinnati's assembled a census committee of more than 100 local leaders to ensure that everyone is counted.

Preparation for the 2010 census is underway, apparently with good reason.

"Communities all across Cincinnati will either gain or lose funding and opportunities depending on whether we have a complete count," said Donna Jones Baker with the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati.

So Mayor Mallory kicked off the city's campaign to get the magic number of 378,259.

"Our representation in Congress is based on census numbers the amount of federal funding that we get and the amount of private investment that happens in the city is based on census numbers so we have to make sure this number is right for a whole host of reasons," said Mallory.

In 2000, Mallory said the Queen City was under-counted, a fight he won with the U.S. Census Bureau then, and a mistake he vows not to let happen again.

And with so much money at stake, the bureau itself got $1 billion dollars to nail down accurate numbers in 2010.

Canvassing won't begin until next year, but city officials certainly put a value on an accurate census count.

"Northside has missed out on $4. 3 million dollars, just this one community," said Mallory. "The city as a whole has missed out on a $104 million over the last 10 years. That is money that we could use for a lot of development and in a lot of communities."

In the meantime, expect to see the preparation work starting in your neighborhood.

"This will not be a knocking on door type of situation," said Bernadette Watson with the Census Bureau. "We just want residents to be aware that people are coming past their house with these machines and know that they can have a comfort level and make sure their homes are lived in so that we can verify address and then get forms out."