There’s a lot riding on 2000 Census

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 1, 2000

Managing Editor

Jan. 31, 2000 9 PM

Troy officials are hoping the 2000 Census will show a 10 percent increase in residents.

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Based on projections, Troy officials believe the city will stand to see substantially more residents than it had in 1990.

Some of the increase from 1990 can be attributed to an inaccurate count, said Mayor Jimmy C. Lunsford, but location of new industry and expansion of existing industry should also play a major role in Troy’s growth.

"In 1990, we had an inaccurate count," Lunsford said. "There was one particular block of data in question, for example, that showed no residents, while we examined it and found 24 homes. This kind of problem tells us that the count was not as accurate as we wanted."

The result of the 1990 Census meant that Troy was labeled as having 13,900 residents. Since that time, Lunsford said, Lockheed Martin has located in Pike County, K&H Plastics has begun operation and the Hendricks companies have experienced dramatic growth.

"All of this combined with the increased number of meters for water and electricity tell us that there will be an increase," Lunsford said. "Add to that an inaccurate count in 1990, and our hope is that we would hit 15,000 or so residents, which I think sounds about right based on what we have seen."

Lunsford said since Lockheed Martin located in Pike County, all of the organizations key management employees have located in Troy.

"This is just one example of some of the reasons we have seen for growth," he said. "Troy State has also experienced growth in the last 10 years, so that will also play an important part in the Census. New jobs bring people to the community."

Lunsford said a bad count this year could have dramatic affects on the city and the state, and he has appointed Alton Starling, city clerk, to work with the Census Bureau office in Atlanta to make sure that the count is as accurate as possible.

"A bad count could mean the loss of federal funds for area programs," Lunsford said. "Concern over this and the fact that the state could lose a congressional seat based on these numbers means that the count’s accuracy is essential to us here."

School funding, based on the number of youth counted in the area, and Head Start funding, are two areas Lunsford said will depend on Census data.

"There are other programs out there, too, that will rely on this data as leaders make decisions about where to appropriate services and funds," he said.

Lunsford said these are some of the reasons it is important for residents to take the Census seriously and to complete correspondence sent to them.

"Just as we are working with the Census Bureau in Atlanta, not only responding to questionnaires, but sending additional information, individuals should try to do the same," Lunsford said. "This information is vital to our operation as a community and as a state for 10 years, so it is crucial that the data be thorough, complete and accurate."

In both the 1980 Census and the 1990 Census, Alabama lost a representative based on the results of Census data.

"We don’t want to lose another congressman," Lunsford said.

He encourages local residents to respond to questionnaires and to work with Census employees to ensure an accurate count.

"All we want is for the Census to be accurate," Lunsford said. "Should we lose programs, services or another state congressional seat, we don’t want it to be because people were missed."