Census numbers have big impact

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Census numbers will be announced shortly but already some of the preliminary totals are starting to slowly make their way to the surface. Probably the most important announcement - yet less than official - is that Missouri will likely lose one congressional seat when the final census numbers are announced.

There was much speculation that either Missouri or Minnesota would lose one important seat in Congress depending on the final population outcome. But this week, preliminary numbers point to Missouri as the state to lose the Congressional seat.

What does that mean? Well it's too early to tell but rest assured, those in the political know are already trying to draw imaginary lines to form the new districts in Missouri.

Were I guessing, I would think the real battle will fall in the urban centers - probably St. Louis. That would mean combining two former districts into one with some of the population slipping into other districts.

But when it comes to the politically-sensitive issue of dropping a Congressional seat, virtually no one is safe. Hopefully our district will remain untouched and the political battle will fall elsewhere.

Truly, only time will tell.

Of more importance to me however are the final population numbers for Sikeston. By any definition, the results of the 2000 census were not a good sign for our community and we can only hope the trend of that census is reversed this year. But once again, only time will tell.

Sikeston lost population when the final 2000 numbers were announced. That marks the first census to calculate a loss in our population. There is nothing good to come from losing population.

I note with great regret that our school population this year has shown another decrease in our student head count. There can be a number of factors to impact this number. But regardless of the details, the trend to a lower student population is also not a good sign.

There are several ways to gauge a thriving town and high on that list is a growing population. The extremely troubling part of this lost population is that once a declining population trend is experienced, it's very difficult to reverse that trend, though not impossible.

Let's state the obvious. People move to communities for a variety of reasons - jobs, quality of life, opportunities, family ties, etc. And they leave for the very same reasons.

Few numbers are more important than the census figures about to be released. We'll follow that announcement - whenever it comes - and hope that city leaders put as much importance on the announcement as they possibly can.

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