POSTED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 5:12pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 22, 2010 - 3:05am
TYLER-The count has begun. More than 120 million U.S. Census forms have been mailed around the country. The population count will be used to hand out billions of dollars in federal aid. Some East Texas cities stand to gain a lot from their growth.
The census forms are headed to households across America for a once in a decade population count.
"We're attempting to count everyone in the country, whether you are a citizen or not, whether you are documented or not," Dr. Robert Grove with the U.S. Census Bureau said.
Not only is it a head count, your answers carry a lot of weight.
"Over $400 billion a year in taxpayer money is returned to neighborhoods, cities, counties and states based on counts," Dr. Grove said.
So the more people a city has, the most cash will be heading there way.
"The census is how the federal and state governments determine the amount of funding we receive for education in our area, infrastructure improvement, not to mention how are area is represented in state and federal government," Heather Newman with the City of Tyler said.
For the first time in Tyler's history, the city has a population of more than 100,000.
"We want to ensure that we receive the amount of funding that is accurate to the amount of people we have," Newman said.
Longview officials say they don't expect their population to exceed the 100,000 mark, but they say they've definitely felt some growing pains in the past few years. According to the 2000 Census, Longview had more than 73,000 residents.
So with both cities in a growth spurt, census results could potentially bring in more funding than ever for retail stores, schools, hospitals, new housing developments and other community facilities.
So officials say fill it out and mail it in because if you don't you could face a find of up to $5,000.