The U.S. Census is adding more than 111,000 Missouri addresses to its master address file, an increase that could help boost the state’s official population in the once-every-decade federal head count.
Missouri identified 111,528 addresses through the Local Update of Census Addresses program, and the U.S. Census Bureau told the Post-Dispatch last week the entries would be included in the 2020 count.
The U.S. Census says the program is the only chance for tribal, state and local governments to weigh in on the federal government’s master address file, which is the government’s official inventory of all known living quarters in the United States.
The Census affects how much federal funding states receive and how many U.S. congressional districts a state will have for the next decade.
Missouri lost one of nine congressional seats after the 2010 Census because the state’s population did not grow as fast as other states.
Karen Best, chairwoman of the Missouri Complete Count Committee, said the “vast majority” of the 111,528 addresses were likely new construction or properties that had been converted to residences within the last decade.
Daniel Velez, spokesman for the U.S. Census Bureau, said the Census was not aware of any of the addresses during the 2010 count.
“The 2010 Census included a complete on the ground address canvassing operation so it’s unlikely that those addresses existed as residential units (and were missed) in 2010,” he said in an email.
Velez said that because of data discrepancies, some of the addresses Missouri turned over will be duplicates of addresses already in the Census’ system.
The U.S. Postal Service also has submitted updates to Missouri’s residence file, which will include some of the same addresses Missouri submitted through the Local Update of Census Addresses program, Velez said.
Chris Moreland, spokesman for the state Office of Administration, said Missouri officials did not know how many of the 111,528 addresses in question existed in 2010 but weren’t counted.
“It is not known what percentage of these updated addresses were newly created addresses or whether they were addresses uncounted in the previous census,” he said in an email.
As a percentage of total housing units, the 111,528 state-submitted addresses made up 4% of the state’s total estimated housing stock of 2.8 million units — the ninth-highest percentage of previously uncounted units among U.S. states and territories, according to the Office of Administration.
“Being ninth is not something that I’m proud of,” Best said.
She hoped the previously uncounted addresses represented new housing spurred by economic development, but said at least some of the addresses likely will include transitional housing.
“A significant number in my personal community are that way: motels in which people are now living,” said Best, the former mayor of Branson. “They rent by the week so many have been there for eight months, nine months. … as opposed to 2010 when they were being used for motel rooms for people on vacation.”
“My goal would be to get them out of transitional housing and into traditional housing,” she said.
Jurisdictions with higher percentages of uncounted housing included Montana; New Mexico; Alaska; Washington, D.C.; Hawaii; Massachusetts; Arkansas and Colorado.
Georgia had the 10th-most uncounted addresses as a percentage of total housing, according to Missouri officials.
Illinois identified 56,174 previously uncounted addresses, just 1% of the 5.4 million units of total housing the state has, according to the Missouri Office of Administration.
Illinois ranked 44th in the number of new addresses as a percentage of total housing.
Missouri has eight congressional districts, down from nine in 2010.
Best said the previously uncounted housing was just one of the features of a complete, accurate Census that “would allow us to keep what we have with the hope of possibly adding a congressional seat now or in the future.
“We don’t want to repeat 2010 where we lose a congressional seat.”