Terre Haute’s city government has launched a plan to assist United State Census canvassers in counting as many people as possible in the city’s population.
Recent population losses threaten Terre Haute’s classification as a second class city. The Complete Count Committee for Terre Haute will try to make sure the city’s official population remains above 50,000. Mayor Duke Bennett says that’s a yardstick Terre Haute can’t afford to dip below, as it ensures a certain level of consideration and attention from federal and state agencies.
He says the committee will improve residents’ participation, which ranked among the worst in the state in 2000.
“What I’m concerned about is there are people that don’t want to fill out the forms. They don’t want the government to know their particulars,” Bennett said. “We’re really going to work hard and strategize about our public service announcements and tell people it’s extremely important [to participate].”
“Plus, we’re going to have city staff assist census people to count where we know people are at that haven’t been counted before. We only get to do this once every 10 years, so we’ve got to get it right.”
The city can count prison inmates as residents of the city. Nine years ago, Terre Haute had nearly 3,000 inmates at the Federal Correctional Complex and a recent count of the showed more than 3,400 living in the facility.
Bennett says the city committee is trying to find a better way to count Indiana State University students, which number in the thousands.
The 2000 Census found Terre Haute with around 59,000 residents. But recent statistics show the population of Vigo County has dropped at the fastest rate in Indiana since last official count.