Saturday, March 26, 2011

U.S. Census, What it means to us

Through out census season, as some of us call it, we endure a constant bombardment of information, speeches, phone calls and the last step, someone knocking on our door.  Why is all of this so important?

The Census is a gathering of information that outlines the population through out the U.S.  It tells us how fast various ethnic groups are growing in the U.S., where people are migrating to through out the U.S., how fast the population is growing or shrinking in the U.S. along with other population issues.  One important fact that needs to be articulated is, everyone is to be counted, whether you are black, white, Hispanic or other, whether you are in the U.S. legally or not.  People should know and be told that information gathered by the U.S. Census cannot be used against you for any reason.  The belief is, some don't get counted because they don't want people to know where they live or don't want the government to know they are here illegally.  This is wrong, we need to count everyone here in the U.S., because if you live here you are part of the system which requires tax dollars to provide you as well as others with services. 

How does this affect us and why should we stand and be counted.  One big reason, the Census is used to determine the number of Congressmen a State should have.  For example, having a Congressman representing a specific area gives you a real voice in Washington.  A Congressman is suppose to be a direct connect to Washington, reflecting the views of their constituents.  Once a Congressional district gets to big this tends not to happen.  With the Census number of 2010, New York State lost 3 Congressmen.  Now some may think this isn't a big deal, but this gives us less influence in Washington when it comes to federal funding.  A lot of Federal and State programs are structured to use population as a benchmark for qualification.  If a specific area has a dramatic change in population, whether up or down funding also mimics the movement of the population up or down.

Although Columbia County basically remained static, when in 2000 the population was 63,094, now in 2010 the County's population has been determined to be 63,096, a growth of 2 people over the last 10 years.

Hudson's fate isn't so positive, Hudson had a population of 7,524 in 2000, in 2010 it has been determined that Hudson's new population is now 6,713 a decrease of 813 or 10.8%, the largest population decrease in Columbia County NY.

Although, this appears to be a small drop in Hudson's population, the affects of a drop like this will be felt City wide.  Hudson stands to lose Federal, State and County funding if the current numbers hold up.  This means, the taxpayers of Hudson will have to pay more for the same services we currently receive if we are to lose funding because of shrinkage in population.  One would think, that if the population is shrinking less service is needed, but it doesn't seem that way currently.  As someone who represents the 4th Ward in the City of Hudson, it seems our needs are getting greater not less.  It's because of all the issues and worries I have outlined above Mayor Rick Scalera, Council President Don Moore and I are reviewing the 2010 census information to determine what the next move for Hudson should be regarding the census results.  Residents of Hudson, all residents of Hudson need to stand and be counted, Hudson's financial future depends on it.