KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - Kansas City is running the risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census. In an email to city council members, Census Bureau employees say they aren’t getting enough access to people living in apartments. The Bureau says property managers are giving limited access and, in some cases, not letting census workers in at all.
KCTV5 News went to a complex with the most households that have not replied. There are 120 apartment units in a building that haven't responded to the census. Workers for the census say apartment buildings across the metro aren't letting workers in to do their jobs.
The clock is ticking for Kansas Citians to submit their census forms. At the end of the month, the population count stops, that’s 16 days away. The Census Bureau says almost 8,000 apartment units are still unaccounted for.
“It’s probably not the greatest thing since it doesn’t happen very often,” Union apartment resident Mollie Holtman said.
“It would be disappointing if you have hundreds of people living in once space that aren’t able to be counted,” North Kansas City apartment resident Gabrielle Gasser said.
Workers are hitting roadblocks before they’re able to knock on doors. The Census says property managers are denying access to some buildings. 4th district Councilman Eric Bunch says there’s a lot at stake.
“A significant undercount could mean we are not adequately representing our constituents,” Councilman Bunch said.
So, KCTV5 News went to an apartment complex that the Councilman says isn’t letting workers in. We were hoping to speak with someone in management at Union apartments. The Union apartments didn’t want to speak with us or give us a statement.
One resident said management has changed multiple times over the last few months, and so do the rules.
“It doesn’t surprise me that no one is getting the answers they want when they’re asking questions,” Union apartment resident Landon Neighbors said.
KCTV5 News didn’t get an answer from the complex as to why they aren’t letting workers in.
“I would be curious is their concern is with COVID liability and that sort of thing, but I can’t empathize with that decision very much,” Gasser said.
There are both federal laws and local ordinances stating you must let census workers into buildings.
“It’s vital. It’s the law. You’re required to do it,” Councilman Bunch said.
Our population determines a lot for the next ten years. How much money we get to fix roads and bridges, funding for transportation, where city council district lines are drawn, and how many people we have in Washington to represent us.
“We could be missing out significantly if we fall under a certain threshold in population,” Councilman Bunch said.
A population of 500,000. Being just under that benchmark means KC didn’t get direct access to CARES ACT funding.
Councilman Bunch says if you're worried census workers aren't being allowed into your building to either contact him or the census bureau to make sure you are being counted.