Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009 | 6:08 p.m.
CARSON CITY – Every Nevadan who goes uncounted in the 2010 census will cost the state $917 a year in federal funds.
The Legislative Interim Finance Committee agreed Thursday to allow Secretary of State Ross Miller to use $961,055 to conduct an aggressive advertising campaign in Las Vegas and Reno and a separate campaign for rural Nevada to make sure as many residents as possible are counted.
Miller and Census Bureau official David Byerman appeared before the committee to convince members the spending will pay off in increased federal dollars for Nevada.
In the 1990 census, an estimated 2.3 percent or 28,431 Nevadans were not counted. It was the fifth worst tally in the nation.
Then the biggest turnaround was produced in 2000 when 1.68 percent or 33,570 Nevadans were not counted.
There will be an estimated 2.8 million Nevadans counted in 2010. If the population is only under-counted by 1.6 percent, it would lose $43.2 million annually. But if it reverted to the 1990 performance of 2.3 percent, it would cost Nevada $59.1 million a year in federal funds.
Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, questioned where the biggest undercount comes from.
Byerman said it was in the Latino population. He said this group “fears how it will be used.” But this personal information is kept confidential, he said. Illegal immigrants will be counted.
The next biggest group that doesn’t get counted is those who don’t trust the federal government, he said. They are philosophically opposed to the federal government, Byerman said.
He estimates 4,000 Nevadans will be hired in 2010 for the census and 1,340 Nevadans have already been employed.