Census is crucial for county funding

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — The federal Census Bureau is already collecting address data in order to refine and calculate how many residents live in Sandoval County.

Beside doing the old-school door-to-door knock, the bureau is implementing some state-of-the-art systems as well as good old-fashioned word of mouth. However the data is collected, it is important to understand the accuracy of resident numbers for our area. According to Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, each person in the county could bring in up to $3,800. Block said this was the number being discussed at a recent meeting of the Association of Counties he attended.

Another scenario that may be a positive for the city of Rio Rancho with the upcoming census is the boost in its size. With so many people flocking to this city, Rio Rancho has a good chance of becoming the second-largest city in the state.

Bragging rights set aside, this could mean more resources for the city during future legislative sessions. Representation and some funding are based on population numbers and the bigger the city becomes, the bigger the resources it can receive. It is important we as a community are aware of how we can help contribute to the accuracy of this count.

The government is not the only entity that relies on census data; businesses of all sizes do as well. According to NPR, the census is used by business leaders to show a detailed demographic picture of a potential customer base, what this base may want and need from the business, and where to open new locations. Many businesses are also concerned that certain regions may not get sufficient federal funding critical to their own operations.

The Observer also applauds the efforts of the Census Bureau for reaching to the county’s nine pueblos. These areas can be hard to get accurate numbers from, being that many homes are remote and without street names or addresses. According to Christine Curran, assistant regional U.S. Census manager, the bureau has staff on tribal lands and has spent over a year coordinating efforts in these areas to raise awareness of the importance of accurate census numbers.

The Observer asks that everyone does their best to participate with this crucial census. In the long run, it will come back to benefit all of us as a community and possibly help us begin the projects we so desperately need.

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