BOZEMAN- The 2020 census is just around the corner and not being counted in the census has big ramifications for the treasure state.
Simply put the state loses money, a lot of money and in the last two censuses the miscount in the Bozeman area actually cost the state a seat in congress.
“In 2000 or 2010 the undercut of Bozeman is actually what cost Montana that seat,” Josh Manning with the Census Bureau said, “it was the students here who weren’t getting counted and so it’s really important that the college students here who are living here and going to school here are getting counted.”
Manning explains that for that seat to be re-added something Montana hasn’t had since the 90s the state would need to count over 1 million people.
The count is based off of where you live six months and one day a year.
“The growth in Bozeman is going to put Montana over that mark for sure,” Manning said.
The City of Bozeman is watching those numbers closely, because right now Bozeman is just on the cusp of going from micropolitan city to a metropolitan city that’s over 50,000 people living in the city limits.
“One of the things that will happen if we move my micropolitan to a metropolitan community all of a sudden new doors will open, for access to new federal funding that can include things like road infrastructure or housing opportunities for money,” Melody Mileur with the City of Bozeman said.
But without the accurate count it could also mean a big financial loss for the city the county and the treasure state as a whole.
“For this community it’s particularly important because in the state of Montana for every person that doesn’t count it’s about $20,000 that won’t come into the state in federal funding over,” Mileur said.
The Bozeman and Gallatin County area receives federal funding for close to 300 programs that includes funding for hospitals, headstart programs and infrastructure.
Skipping the count means losing the cash which will help fund the infrastructure for the growing area.
“All of the census data is going to determine what happens in Bozeman over the next 10 years, but Bozeman has to make sure it’s counted,” Manning said.
The census bureau says they are working closely with Montana State University to ensure that students are counted along with people living in senior living communities.
Right now the census bureau says it’s very important that people in the Bozeman area sign up to become census counters.
Its easier to get an accurate count when neighbors are knocking on neighbors doors versus strangers.
If you’d like some more information on the census you can follow this link.