ECON 919 - Preparing for the census

Feb 15, 2019


This week: The Census. Since 1790, the federal government has taken a head count of sorts, in its decennial census. The data that come from the census decide voting districts, but also have a real economic impact, especially in Alaska, says Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District Executive Director Tim Dillon. He’s part of the group that will work to organize taking the census on the Peninsula next year.


Conducting a census on the Kenai will start with letters inviting people to participate online. KPEDD has partners across the borough who can help make individual contacts.

“Trying to educate people why they need to participate and what it all means is really important,” Dillon says.

“There are two major pieces to this whole thing. One is this is how districts are drawn. This is how thing are decided, from number of legislators whether it be on the federal side or the state side.

The way state code is written, it also decides whether our community gets another liquor license. In Soldotna...they’re about 150 short of being able to qualify for another liquor license...A lot of the different federal, social programs are all based on numbers. Whether it be housing programs, food programs, they’re all based on numbers.

Last time around, a person was worth almost $3,000 when it came to these different programs that exist out there. So, especially as we’re looking at where our state is and where we’re headed, being able to tap into somebody else’s money is something we need to be thinking about.”


Now, this week’s number: $2,716,600. That’s how much public broadcasting in Alaska received in state funding for the last fiscal year, as doled out by the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission. The governor’s proposed budget zeroes that out. Local stations use those funds for operations, but also to leverage funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which demands a local match. KDLL’s share of that is about $70,000.