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Memphis Faces Possible Undercount as 2020 Census Nears End

U.S. Census Bureau



The? ?U.S.? ?Census? ?Bureau? ?is? ?in the final one-month? stretch before end?ing ?the? ?2020? ?count.? ?Some? ?Memphis-area? ?state? ?lawmakers? are? ?worried? ?about a possible ?undercount? that ?could? ?affect? ?political? ?representation? ?for? ?Shelby? ?County.?

? Before census workers, going door-to-door this month, helped bring thestatewide count ?close ?to? ?80? ?percent?, ?sixty-four? ?percent? ?of? ?Tennesseans? had completed? ?the? ?census? ?either? ?online,? ?over? ?the? ?phone? ?or? ?via? ?the? ?mail.

But? ?so? ?far,? ?Shelby? ?County’s? ?self-response? ?rate? ?is? ?almost? ?two? ?percent? ?lower? ?than? ?it? ?was? ?in? ?2010, and the? ?City? ?of? ?Memphis? ?lags? ?four ?percent? ?behind? ?its? ?rate? ?from? ?10? ?years? ?ago.? ? ?

With? ?the? ?Census? ?Bureau? ?wrapping? ?up? ?field? ?operations? ?a? ?month? ?earlier? ?than? ?expected,? ?lawmakers? ?say? ?a shortfall? ?in responses could? ?affect? ?federal? ?funding? ?for? ?social? ?services? ?and? ?public? ?infrastructure.? ?It? ?could? ?also? ?reshape? ?local? ?voting? ?districts.? ? ?

According? ?to? ?census? ?projections,? ?the? ?state’s? ?population? ?has? ?shifted? ?enough? ?in? ?the? ?last? ?decade? ?to? possibly? ?cost? ?Shelby? ?County? ?one? ?of? ?its? ?14? ?house? ?seats,? ?says? ?Matia? ?Powell? ?of? ?the? ?nonprofit? ?CivicTN.? ?But,? ?districts? ?aren’t? ?drawn? ?on? ?projections;? ?they’ll? ?be? ?based? ?on? ?the? ?2020? ?numbers,? ?which? ?is? ?why? ?she? says? ?a? ?precise? ?count? ?guides? ?fair? ?representation.? ? ?

Memphis? ?Representative? ?Larry? ?Miller? ?says? ?Shelby? ?County’s? ?political? ?power? ?at? ?the? ?state? ?legislature? ?is? ?on? ?the? ?line.? ?

“It just depends on the? ?last? ?10? ?years? ?versus? ?now,” he says. “Has? ?our? ?population? growth ?increased? ?or? has it decreased?, or? ?has? ?it? ?pretty? ?much? ?remained? ?the? ?same?? ?That’s? ?what’s? ?going? ?to? ?determine? ?that.”?  ? ?

Powell points out that it’s not ?just? ?government? ?officials? ?who? ?rely on the data. It can spur local economic growth.  ? ?

 ?“Even? ?for-profits? ?and? ?corporations? ?make? ?decisions? ?based? ?on? ?census? ?numbers.? So the? ?industries? ?make? ?decisions? ?on? ?where? ?they’re? ?going? ?to? ?grow? ?or? ?where? ?they’re? ?going? ?to? ?build,” she says. “There’s? ?just so? ?many? ?decisions? ?that’s? ?made? ?on? ?it,? ?that ?it is ?just? ?imperative? ?that? ?we? ?have? ?the? ?most? ?accurate? ?count.”? ?

The? ?last? ?day? ?to? ?complete? ?the? ?census? ?form? ?is? ?September? ?30. It can ?be? ?found? ?online? ?at ?my2020census.gov?.?