MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – U.S. Census workers will finish up going door to door at the end of September and more than a third of people in Manhattan have not filled out the census. Mayor Usha Reddi said the city currently has a response rate of around 64 percent.
Census data is collected every ten years and affects how much federal funding Kansas receives. Reddi said Kansas loses $600 million for every one percent the state is under counted.
“This goes to our schools, our roads, any emergency pandemic, anything that’s necessary,” Reddi said. “It’s all based on the census numbers and they only do it every ten years so if our numbers are low we lose funding. That means that’s your tax dollars are going somewhere else.”
There are currently 1,500 census workers in Kansas. Reddi said students, single people, unemployed or homeless people and those that move often are usually the hardest for census workers to track down.
If the city were to lose funding, Reddi said the city would have to make up for it by possibly raising sales or property taxes or by cutting services.
“Everybody wants their services and you often hear about it when we have a big snow storm or a big flood and things of that sort, but every day business people take for granted,” Reddi said. “Our parks and recreation, our pools, our roads, because we are maintaining them well. You will definitely see that decrease if we don’t get enough funds.”
Reddi asks that people answer questions if a census worker comes to their door. Census workers should have a badge identifying themselves and all answers will be kept confidential. If someone is not comfortable answering in person, they can fill out the census online.
Kansas currently has a more than 90 percent response rate statewide. If the state is undercounted it could also affect representation in U.S. Congress. There are currently four representatives from Kansas in the U.S. House of Representatives. Reddi warns that if Kansas is undercounted that could go down to three representatives.