Census Expert: Rural Areas Risk Being Overlooked
Media Contact: Amy Sterndale
Carsey Institute
Feb 24, 2010

DURHAM, N.H. – As the United States prepares for the 2010 census, rural areas are at risk of being undercounted, says demographer William O’Hare, senior policy fellow at the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. O’Hare is available to comment on the characteristics of rural America that may make certain rural areas difficult to count and on the policy and funding impact such undercounting can have.

O’Hare, who is also a senior fellow with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is available at WOhare@aecf.org or 410-547-6600, ext. 2049.

“In certain cases, the census misses large segments of the rural population,” says O’Hare, author of a brief on this subject published today by the Carsey Institute. “Notably, blacks in the rural South, Hispanics in the Southwest border region, and American Indians on reservations in the Southwest and Northern Plains are among the hardest-to-count populations.”

O’Hare adds that undercounted communities do not receive a fair share of public funds for schools, hospitals, day care centers, roads, and other programs that receive federal funding. “Rural communities that are already struggling in this economic climate can ill-afford to lose federal money because they are not fully counted in the census,” he says.

O’Hare’s brief, called “Rural Areas Risk Being Overlooked in 2010 Census,” is available to download here: http://www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu/publications/IB_Ohare_Census_2010.pdf. It was supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s initiative to strengthen rural families, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

The Carsey Institute conducts policy and applied research on vulnerable families and on sustainable community development, giving policy makers and practitioners the timely, independent resources they need to effect change in their communities. Learn more at http://carseyinstitute.unh.edu/.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.