LITTLE ROCK – Last week, Governor Asa Hutchinson issued Executive Order 19-12 to establish the Arkansas Complete Count Committee to promote statewide participation in the 2020 Census.
The Arkansas Complete Count Committee will consist of 30 volunteer members appointed by the Governor from state, municipal, and county government, as well as citizen and private sector representatives.
Fort Smith Mayor George McGill will serve as Chair, and Shelby Johnson, Director of the Arkansas Geographic Information Systems Office, will serve as Vice Chair.
“Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau surveys the United States to determine the nation’s population,” said Governor Hutchinson. “April 1, 2020, is Census Day. In Arkansas, we’ve been preparing for years, and an accurate count of Arkansas’s population is critical. The most obvious reason is that the federal government allocates funding back to the states based upon population counts. An undercount of even 1 percent could cost Arkansas $990 million over the next decade.”
By this Executive Order, Governor Hutchinson is directing the Arkansas Complete Count Committee to establish a public-awareness campaign to promote citizen participation in the 2020 census; to provide recommendations on how best to reach hard-to-count communities within the state; and to work with municipal and county governments to form local complete count committees. In addition, should the need arise, the committee will provide recommendations for future funding to support this statewide effort.
The committee will meet monthly and shall submit a census progress report to the Governor no later than November 1, 2019; a census day report to the Governor no later than April 1, 2020; and a final census report no later than December 31, 2020.
“The process is easier than ever,” said Governor Hutchinson. “You can respond on your personal computer, your smartphone, or your tablet. If you prefer, you may respond the old-fashioned way by mailing your paper questionnaire to the Census Bureau. Whichever way you choose to participate, please do. Arkansas’s population recently climbed above 3 million for the first time, and we need your help to ensure that every person is counted for the benefit of the entire state.”
Article I of the United States Constitution, as amended by the Fourteenth Amendment, requires an enumeration of the population every ten years in the form of a census, with the next decennial count scheduled to occur on or about April 1, 2020.
The United States Census Bureau estimates the State of Arkansas has seen an increase of nearly 3.4 percent in population since the last decennial census, which occurred on April 1, 2010. Arkansas surpassed 3 million residents in 2017 and has since grown by 0.4 percent to roughly 3,013,825 residents.
The final census report shall document all efforts undertaken by the Arkansas Complete Count Committee as well as the efforts of all local and independent complete count committees in the state after Census Day and in anticipation of final apportionment counts by the U.S. Census Bureau.