Census Supplement Survey Could Be Cut
A survey conducted by the federal government to supplement the time between the official Census could be on the chopping block, and that has large ramifications for the local government’s who relied on the survey’s information.
The American Community Survey is a questionnaire done by the Census Bureau that is used to ascertain demographic information of a location similar to the Census. Unlike the Census which is done every ten years, The American Community Survey is done on a more frequent basis and provides much more current and useful information which municipalities, counties, and states use for determining how to distribute funds most effectively. However the Federal Government is considering cutting the survey.
If that were to happen, Ocean County Planning Director Dave McKeon worries the county would lose one of its most valuable tools for determining how to allocate funds. The data from the American Community Survey also provides more detail than the standard census which is important for planning, even on a block by block bases.
McKeon says both social and economic programs could be affected if the American Community Service was defunded.
“A lot of the programs for senior citizens and low income people are based on census information and information from the American Community Survey. For Economic Development a lot of businesses use that information to determine population characteristics.
He adds the information is also vital for infrastructure planning, such as future expansion of roadways and drainage facilities. Both of which are determined on where population changes are going to occur.
“If you don’t have the information it just makes the decisions that much more difficult” notes McKeon.
Currently there are general proposals in Congress to determine whether to continue the surveys.
McKeon understands why it could face the defunding. “What’s the value of the information, and based on our current budget concerns in the country is this a program that you continue or could there be some money made.
The County hasn’t formally contacted Congressman Jon Runyan for help on the subject, however McKeon says they do have contacts and liaisons within the census bureau so they would have to find an alternative way of gathering the info.