WACO, Texas – The economic and fiscal costs of a significant census undercount would be substantial, says economist Dr. Ray Perryman.
The Perryman Group has analyzed the potential economic and fiscal costs of an undercount in Texas as a public service.
“The economic and fiscal costs of a significant undercount would be substantial,” Perryman said. “Less funding has the potential to negatively affect the health and wellbeing of residents of the state, as well as reduce job training, infrastructure investments, housing, and other important programs and initiatives. Because a major portion of the funding loss is in health-related programs, an undercount can limit the ability to respond to situations such as the current coronavirus pandemic.”
Perryman pointed out that accurate census counts are far more than just a matter of interest. “They are important to ensuring adequate federal funding for various programs, appropriate representation in Congress, and an understanding of demographic trends in order to plan for the future,” he said, in a news release.
The Perryman Group estimates that the direct losses due to a significant Census undercount in Texas would total an estimated $2.1 billion per year.
“These losses are from reduced funding for programs which are based on the Census,” the group states. “Direct losses generate negative ripple effects through the economy which multiply the overall economic harms. Over the ten years following the count, total losses including multiplier effects are projected to be $39.2 billion in gross product and nearly 418,500 job-years of employment.”
In addition, The Perryman Group states, lower funding leads to substantial “downstream” effects such as reduced wellness, less infrastructure improvement, and more limited job training.
“Downstream effects over the 2021 through 2030 period include an estimated $42.5 billion in gross product and nearly 498,000 job-years in Texas (when multiplier effects are considered).”
Reduced economic activity would also lead to lost tax receipts The Perryman Group argues, including $1.98 billion to the State and $1.78 billion to local entities every year. These amounts are over and above the losses from reduced funding for programs.
“Encouraging responses and ensuring all Texans are counted can assure that Texas receives fair and equitable allocations from Federal initiatives over the coming decade and, hence, enhance future prosperity in the state,” Dr. Perryman added.
Editor’s Note: Click here to read The Perryman Group report.