U.S. Census 2010: What Louisiana stands to lose - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

U.S. Census 2010: What Louisiana stands to lose

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - With a December 2010 deadline looming, the U.S. Census count will officially begin on April 1st.

"We've got an enormous task ahead of us," said Danielle Edwards with the U.S. Census Bureau.  

Census officials and the Louisiana House of Representatives Committee on House and Governmental Affairs are educating residents on why participation in the 2010 Census is crucial. Tuesday night was the second stop on 9 public meetings around the state.  

With the loss of population from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, voters stand to lose representation not only on the local and state level, but on the federal level - meaning once all the numbers are in Louisiana could lose its 7th congressional seat.

"A lot comes into play. #1 the fact that we've lost population, #2 the fact that there are other states that are growing by great counts, so they are gaining seats and we will be losing one," explained Rep. Rick Gallot, Chair of House and Governmental Affairs Committee.  

According to records, only 60% of Louisiana's population participated in the 2000 census. While a congressional seat is at stake, so are millions in federal dollars.

"For every person not counted is 13-hundred dollars per year, now over a 10 year period, which is what those numbers are used for, that's 13-thousand dollars in federal money that we are losing for every person not counted in census," said Patricia Lowrey-Dufour, Senior Legal Analyst for the House and Governmental Affairs Committee.  

Ultimately Louisiana could have to redistrict from seven to six regions. While population is the driving force behind the process, the census looks at a number of issues, including voting age and race. Collectively the information determines the next 10 years.

"We certainly hope that you will encourage all of your friends and family to respond and we certainly hope you will respond as well," said Lowrey-Dufour. 

And there's good news, it's the shortest questionnaire in the history of the U.S. Census.

"We say 10-10-10. 10 questions, 10 minutes. Simply fill out the form. We cannot move forward until you mail it back," said Edwards.  

To collect all that data the U.S. Census Bureau is hiring an additional 1.4 million people, thousands of those jobs right here in Louisiana. If you would like more information on how you can apply call 1-866-861-2010.

Copyright 2009 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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