Census undercount was costly to Ohio

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 8, 2002

Tribune Staff

If estimates of the 2000 Census are accurate, Ohio stands to lose millions in federal dollars in the next decade.

On Friday, the U.S. Census Bureau released its estimated undercount -- how many people it believes were missed in the 2000 Census.

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The estimates show 62,878 Ohioans may have not been counted.

After the 2000 Census, the state's population was estimated at 11,353,140.

With the new estimates, the population jumps to 11,416,018 -- approximately a 0.6-percent increase.The U.S. Census Bureau says the figures are flawed and have no official use, but the undercount is significant to cities that feel their residents were not accurately counted.

Many federal and state tax dollars are distributed based on the number of people in an entity.

The village of South Point, for example, had an estimated population of 3,742, just missing being considered a city by roughly 1,000 people. As a city, South Point may have received more money.

In 1990, the state had an undercount of roughly 74,000, meaning the state may have lost $60 million in federal funds in the 1990s. Although the estimated undercount for 2000 was about 11,000 less, Ohio still stands to lose a lot of money

According to 2000 Census figures, Lawrence County's population grew from 61,834 in 1990 to 62,319 in 2000. We will probably never know how many federal dollars we missed out on.