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A WORD FROM THE MAYOR
What do San Bernardino, California, Orlando, Florida, Chicago, Illinois, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New York City, New York all have in common with Pearsall, Texas? Well, you could make lists and guess for hours and not come up with this one, but the US Census Bureau wanted feedback on the data gathering process they perform every ten years. They picked six cities across the wide expanses of the good ol’ US of A to hold these meetings in and they came up with the following cities: San Bernardino, Orlando, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City and yes, that’s right, Pearsall. We were the sixth city. There are roughly 20,000 incorporated cities, towns and villages in America, and they picked us, along with those other larger metropolises. I’m not sure lining up with those big cities is a good thing or not, but nonetheless, we get to join the ranks with those other cities to let our voices be heard.
Last Tuesday on November 1, the Census Bureau was here for this meeting and I had the chance to ask the narrator “why Pearsall”? I thought it was pretty neat and a good move by the Bureau to solicit feedback and at the same time provide general information about the role of the Bureau. We are part of the Denver region of the Census Bureau and they wanted a rural community from Middle America. The Bureau input specific algorithms to list cities that meet those conditions and Pearsall came up, along with a number of other cities. The narrator was the one that got to choose and being from Texas, she was familiar with South Texas…so I was told that’s how we were chosen.
The meeting was put on by the Bureau and attended by officials from the cities of Pearsall and Dilley, Frio County and Frio Regional Hospital. The narrator provided data on the history of the Bureau. The census is mandated by the US Constitution to take place every ten years. The first census was taken in 1790 and there have been 23 censuses taken since that time. The Census Bureau is not a policy making agency, it simply gathers data and is a part of the US Department of Commerce. Some of the many uses of the data is for the apportionment of federal funds, programs and re-districting. The agency provides data for infrastructure and planning, military and disaster responses, economic analysis, commercial investment and various other purposes. The first census in 1790 reported four million people living in the US, the 2020 census reported 331 million. Interestingly, in the span of my lifetime, 62 years, the US population has added 150 million folks, almost double from the year of my birth.
The other thing we learned is that the census focuses on counting by residences. They count all people in those residences and not just citizens, but resident or nonresident, legal or illegal, because all use roads, services and infrastructure. They seek to determine with as high a degree of accuracy as possible, race, nationality, sex, age and relation to those in the residence. It can get complicated but they have a system for counting RV Park Snow Birds, kids in college, overseas military members, folks that live in apartments, nursing homes, and jails, those here on work visas and citizens that may travel and work overseas. They report a success rate of gathering data on 99.5% of all residences in the country. They pull random samples and check for accuracy and report they have time proven systems in place that let them gage the accuracy of the data. No wonder they start working on the next census 10 years in advance.
The Census Bureau is still gathering input and if you would like to make a comment or suggestion about the 2030 Census, go to www.federalregister.gov and search for 2030 Census. They have a site set up that will welcome your comments. This site will be open until November 15, 2022.
Very interesting to get to serve in a position where one can see all the many parts of the wheel that work and how they work together to make our community, our state and our nation what it is.
God Bless the City of Pearsall, the County of Frio, the State of Texas, the United States of America and You.
Ben T. Briscoe
Mayor of Pearsall