Washington, D.C. – At a roundtable organized by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), Latino elected officials and regional leaders yesterday discussed challenges in obtaining a complete count of the region in the 2010 Census. Participants primarily discussed ways to reach hard- to-count populations, such as the Latino community.
The 2010 Census is a once-in-a- decade opportunity to count the region’s diverse and growing population, of which the Latino community constitutes a significant percentage. Arlington County Board Member Walter Tejada, who also serves as Chair of COG’s Human Services and Public Safety Policy Committee, led today’s roundtable discussion. Tejada, emphasizing the Census’ role in determining how much federal funding is distributed to states and localities, stressed the importance of getting a complete and accurate count, especially in this very difficult fiscal environment.
“There are millions of dollars that could be lost in the region by not having a complete count,” Tejada said. Explaining the negative implications of an undercount, Tejada noted that Arlington lost funding which could have provided six new fire trucks and three community centers, due to an undercount of nearly 4,000 people during the last Census.
Following the roundtable, Tejada, joined Paul DesJardin, COG’s Director of Community Planning and Services, on The COG Podcast to discuss why the Latino population is considered hard-to- count, what COG’s role is in promoting a complete count, and the economic consequences of an undercount.