Houston Spending Money To Get Right Count

Major U.S. cities are at risk of being undercounted in the 2010 census. But because of financial problems many are doing little to prepare for an accurate count A study by the Pew Charitable Trusts examined preparation efforts in 11 major cities. It found that Houston was one of only five that has committed public funds for census outreach. Rod Rice reports.

It's estimated that in the 2000 census only 67% of Houston residents were counted.

"So our goal for 2010 is to get well above that."

Frank Michel is Mayor Bill White's communications director and a member of the Complete Count Committee, the city's effort to prepare Houstonians for next years count and to make sure as many residents as possible are counted.

"The idea is to reach out at the grass routes and in some cases it's going to be block-to-block, door-to-door, this education effort to number one tell people why it's important to be counted and then get them to actually participate in the census."

This week city council will be ask to okay the hiring of a consortium of communications and public relations professionals to help make everyone aware on the importance of being counted.

Michel says a lot rides on the census count.

"The way we fund our public schools, the way we fund health care in this community, the way highways and other things are funded. And, in addition the way that political districts are drawn at all levels of government will depend on an accurate count in the census."

The 2010 census begins in April.

Rod Rice. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
 

Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...