Census stopping could set Waco funding back years

Local News

WACO, Texas: After several deadline extensions, President Trump announced Tuesday the U.S. Census would stop counting Thursday night.

Waco’s Census Committee, headed by City Secretary Esmeralda Hudson, has been working on getting people aware of the census since July 2019. Now, they’re just trying to catch their breath.

“Well it’s been a rollercoaster I think for the committee and for everyone in our community who understands the importance of the census,” Hudson said. “It’s been a stop, it’s been a go, it’s a stop.”

The original July 31 deadline was pushed back to September 30 for COVID concerns and ultimately moved again to October 31 before Tuesday’s announcement.

With the decision being dropped on their lap, the city doesn’t know much yet about what this means for the committee.

“What we do know is that if you haven’t submitted and you’re not counted, you’re not going to be in the report,” Hudson said. “That’s the concern.”

It’s a concern because the census determines what kind of federal funding Waco will get.

“For every one person that doesn’t complete the census, we stand to lose about $1,500 per person over 10 years, which could be about $60,000 for a family of four if they’re not counted in our community,” Hudson said. “Funding could go towards street and highway improvements, schools, and education.”

Even with the uncertainty surrounding the deadline, census workers fought till the end to improve on Waco’s response numbers from the 2010 census.

“You roll with the punches, it is what it is and you do what you can do with what’s given to you,” Hudson said. “We understood that it could be a week, it could be two weeks, it could be a month where we’re allowed to do self-response and we would continue to do what we could until we couldn’t do it any longer.”

While they might not know the effect the numbers will have on the city yet, they know it is important.

“We just don’t know, we don’t know what that impact is gonna be,” Hudson said. “We know if we didn’t count everyone, then it’s gonna have an impact.”

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