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Mississippi’s Coastal Region Represents a Significant Impact on Our State Through the 2020 Census

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Guest Editorial: Former State Senator Giles Ward, Chairman Mississippi Census Complete Count Committee. Media may contact Senator Ward directly at: gilesward1948@gmail.com or by cell: (662) 803-0058.

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Mississippi Census: You Represent a Significant Impact on Our State

See just how much below.

A Guest Editorial by Former State Senator Giles Ward 

Chairman of the Mississippi Census Complete Count Committee

Jackson, Mississippi July 17, 2020 – As Chairman of the Mississippi Complete Count Committee, I wanted to reach out to all Mississippians about this year’s census. For those of you who don’t typically follow the census, here’s a little background. 

In 2010, the last time the decennial census was conducted, Mississippi’s response rate was just plain low. There’s no other way to put it. Our self-response rate (the rate at which people voluntarily submitted their census before intense door-to-door efforts) was 61.3%. The final count left off with 8.9% of us uncounted — the lowest in the country, and we ended up leaving what would turn out to be approximately $13.2 billion in Federal dollars driven by census data on the table. 

Mississippi could have used $13.2 billion dollars over the past 10 years. 

In 2019, I was honored to be asked to head up the Mississippi Complete Count Committee to help change all of that for 2020. I thought to myself before agreeing to the challenge, “What a worthwhile cause to spend some of my retirement time making sure all Mississippians are counted. We are sometimes last in the U.S. in one ranking or another, but by golly we don’t have to be last in this one. This one is easy. All we have to do is make sure people fill out a short survey that takes less than 10 minutes.”

Our committee of dedicated Mississippians is working hard on the 2020 census, which is now in the middle of a pandemic. Counting has been extended two months through October, and while I am still honored to be your census chairman, we still have a lot of work to do. These days every ounce of our committee and our marketing team’s energy is going toward getting all of you counted. But we could sure use some help.

Right now, Mississippi ranks 39th in the nation with a 57% self-response rate and 51st in the nation (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) in internet response rate at 34.6%. Mississippi indeed has one of the lowest rates of high-speed internet in the country, so we are beating some of the odds against us.

Additionally, based on the estimated $50,000 per person impact that one person has on federal funding, Mississippi’s current count represents $84,820,246,500 in funds. However, based on our current response rate, there’s an additional $63,987,203,500 in Federal funds that Mississippi would leave on the table if the census was completed today. 

But the most important point here is that we can do much, much better. If you want to look at all of the numbers yourself, just click this link on the Mississippi Census website https://mscensus2020.org/response-rate/ and you can see rankings among states, counties, cities and can sort, drill down, slice and dice the numbers all sorts of ways. 

Below, we’ve pulled together the self-response rate numbers as of July 13, 2020 for the specific cities and counties in your area. We also pulled together the dollar figures that these numbers represent for Mississippi in Federal dollars right now, but the last column shows how much more we would gain if your city or county had a complete count. This illustrates why we need everyone’s help to encourage everyone to be counted.  

Counties 

CountySelf-Response RateImpact So Far with Current Response Rate on Federal Funding from 2020 to 2030*Current Estimated Undercount for the CountyAdditional Funding That Could Be Gained with a Complete Count**
George54.0%$661,500,00046.0%$563,500,000
Hancock55.5%$1,321,788,00044.5%$1,059,812,000
Harrison61.5%$6,398,460,00038.5%$4,005,540,000
Jackson63.2%$4,538,297,20036.8%$2,642,552,800
Pearl River54.6%$1,516,105,50045.4%$1,260,644,500
Stone55.1%$505,156,80044.9%$411,643,200
*Based on $5,000 per person, per year or $50,000 per person in Federal Funds over 10 years. 
**Uses current undercount figures x $50,000.

Cities

CitySelf-Response RateImpact Generated So Far on Federal Funding from 2020 to 2030*Current Estimated Undercount for the CityAdditional Funding That Could Be Gained with a Complete Count**
Bay St. Louis51.0%$357,867,00049.0%$343,833,000
Biloxi58.0%$1,340,148,00042.0%$970,452,000
D’Iberville72.1%$290,130,40027.9%$112,269,600
Diamondhead63.9%$447,683,40036.1%$252,916,600
Gautier63.6%$587,982,00036.4%$336,518,000
Gulfport59.7%$2,140,394,25040.3%$1,444,855,750
Long Beach70.6%$565,611,90029.4%$235,538,100
Lucedale52.5%$82,766,25047.5%$74,883,750
Lumberton46.6%$51,679,40053.4%$59,220,600
Moss Point59.0%$393,825,00041.0%$273,675,000
Ocean Springs70.3%$627,849,30029.7%$265,250,700
Pascagoula54.8%$594,552,60045.2%$490,397,400
Pass Christian56.8%$179,118,80043.2%$136,231,200
Picayune56.9%$310,218,80043.1%$234,981,200
Poplarville50.9%$73,779,55049.1%$71,170,450
Waveland53.2%$167,633,20046.8%$147,466,800
Wiggins60.0%$136,230,00040.0%$90,820,000
*Based on $5,000 per person, per year or $50,000 per person in Federal Funds over 10 years.
**Uses current undercount figures x $50,000. 

I know we can achieve higher response rates through a variety of methods. That’s because there are four different ways to complete this year’s census: online at https://my2020census.gov/ (which also works on mobile phone browsers), by paper survey through the mail, by telephone at 1-800-923-8282 or through someone from the Census Bureau contacting you in person or by phone. 

Let’s not wait until the last minute.  

Make sure you complete your census, and ask family, friends, and neighbors if they have completed theirs. Assist them if needed. At an estimated $50,000 per person left on the table for 10 years, we can’t afford for any Mississippian to not be counted. 

I am counting on you. 

For all things Mississippi Census visit: https://mscensus2020.org.

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