UMass Donahue Institute work helps Massachusetts communities successfully challenge census total
William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Contact: Brian McNiff December 3, 2008
Susan Strate PEP Manager
BOSTON, WORCESTER, SPRINGFIELD, 13 OTHER COMMUNITIES MOUNT SUCCESSFUL CENSUS CHALLENGE; BOOST POPULATION ESTIMATES
Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin, Massachusetts liaison for the 2010 Federal Census, announced today that the Population Estimates Program (PEP) has successfully supported 16 challenges to the 2007 U.S. Census population estimate, adding 21,295 persons to the Commonwealth’s total.
Successful challengers included Boston, Worcester and Springfield, the Commonwealth’s largest cities, but also towns as small as Dudley and West Boylston.
PEP is a collaborative effort between the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office and the Donahue Institute at the University of Massachusetts.
“It is vital that every person In Massachusetts be counted in the 2010 Census – vital for our fair share of federal funds and for our continued level of representation in Congress,” said Secretary Galvin. “I applaud the work of the Population Estimates Program at the Donahue Institute for making these municipal challenges a success. I urge these cities and towns, and all 351 communities of the Commonwealth, to bend every effort to ensure that all our residents know the importance of being counted in the Federal Census.”
These successful municipal challenges represent the first returns on an investment that the state made last year to ensure that the official population estimate for the Commonwealth is as accurate as possible and that Massachusetts receives its fair share of the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal resources distributed using these estimates each year.
The project was funded at $600,000 in FY 2008, it’s first full year, with $100,000 for preliminary research in Suffolk County in FY 2007. Conservative estimates suggest that Massachusetts stands to gain between $2.5 and $5 million per year in federal funding, or between $7.5 and $15 million between now and the 2010 Census, as a direct result of the program’s efforts in its first year.
“While it is difficult to say exactly how much each person added to the official population estimate is worth to the state, because the formulas are often very complex and depend on a number of different other elements, detailed studies by the GAO and others estimate the amount at between $123 per person per year in the 1990s to as much as $339 projected per person per year for metropolitan areas in this decade, “noted Susan Strate, the PEP program manager for the UMass Donahue Institute.
Other communities with successful challenges were Dartmouth, Amherst, Concord, Waltham, Westfield, Milton, Salem, Fitchburg, Ludlow, North Adams, and Beverly.
“Even using the most conservative assumptions, the return on the state’s investment in this program is incredibly high,” added Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, D-Boston, Vice Chairman of Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and an early advocate for the PEP program. “21,295 persons at $123 each per year translates to a $2,619,285 return on the state’s $700,000 investment in this project.
There is, however, much more work to be done, Sanchez added. “In these difficult economic times, it is critical for us to redouble our efforts to improve our population estimates, obtain our full fair share of federal funds and begin to prepare for the 2010 Census which is now just 18 months away.”
As can be seen in the following table, the 16 communities that PEP supported successfully represent every region of the Commonwealth.
Original 2007 Population Estimate from U.S. Census July 2008
Net gain in population resulting from challenge process
New 2007 Population Estimate October 2008
West Boylston town
North Adams city
January 30, 2009