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MI Census To Focus On Undercounted Communities

census officials at state capitol
Kevin Lavery
Michigan Statewide Census Director Kerry Ebersole-Singh (at podium) talks about counting underrepresented groups. Also pictured (from left): Rep. Julie Calley (R-Portland), Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II (far right)

Census takers in Michigan say they’ll focus largely on underserved communities that are historically difficult to count. 


The census determines federal funding for programs from education to infrastructure.  Officials say 10 Michigan counties are most at risk of being undercounted, including Ingham, Washtenaw and Wayne. 


Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) says people often don’t respond to the census because they don’t feel their government works for them.


“So, if your community floods, where do you think money is going to come from, FEMA?” Carter asks.  “Where does FEMA come from?  The federal government.  Where does that come from?  (It’s from) you filling out your census.”


The Michigan Nonprofit Association is poised to take a lead role in reaching out to underrepresented groups.


Director Donna Murray-Brown says nonprofits that provide vital services already have the trust of their clients and can encourage them towards civic participation. 




Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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