CAPON BRIDGE — A need for census participation to keep West Virginia from losing federal funds and a vote in Congress was discussed in the Capon Bridge Town Council meeting last Tuesday.

Census representative Steven Swingle asked the Town Council to encourage people to comply with next year’s federal census, explaining: “It all comes down to federal dollars — the money flowing back from federal government to the states.”

Federal tax money is used to fund many programs at the state level, Swingle explained, with the amount spent on each state dependent on population as counted in the census. West Virginia will receive an estimated $2,755 less in federal funds for each person missed — and needs a higher population count than expected to keep from losing 1 of the state’s 3 seats in the House of Representatives.

Every 10 years, census population figures are used to redistrict the House’s 235 seats, taking seats from some states and moving them to others. Ten seats were moved from one state to another after the 2010 census.

West Virginia is in danger of losing a seat this time because it is losing population while other states are growing, Swingle said, adding that the American Community Survey done in 2017 indicated Hampshire County alone has lost over 400 people since 2010,

Swingle pointed out that getting counted is easy. Beginning in mid-March, people can go online and be counted in a few minutes by answering just 10 questions. Free Internet access is available at public libraries for those lacking computers at home.

Those who don’t answer online or mail back census forms can expect to find census takers knocking on their doors, as Swingle’s staff does its best to give us a complete count.

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