Flint, MI— Census household response rates in Flint have drastically improved since August when city officials announced that only 48.6% of Flint residents had participated.

Anthony Turner, 2020 census coordinator for the City of Flint, said 90.6% of households have been counted and they are pushing to hit 100% before the Sept. 30 deadline.

City officials determined household response rates by profiling “where households should be” and subtracting vacancies, Turner said.

“I set a goal for the City of Flint to attain an 82% response rate which was 3% higher than the 79% response rate in 2010,” Turner said in an email.

The population in Flint has declined from 102,434 in 2010 to 95,538 in 2019, according to the most recent data by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Some folk is yet under the belief that Flint is still at pre-crisis population levels and I want all of us to be clear on the facts,” Turner said.

The City of Flint bolstered outreach efforts after the Trump administration announced an early census deadline. Officials established Mobile Questionnaire Assistance Centers in areas with “hard-to-count populations,” Turner said.

It was an attempt to “simplify the conversation” for those who have been systemically disenfranchised by the government, he said. The Assistance Centers will continue to operate until Sept. 30.

An accurate headcount ensures Flint will receive enough federal funds for schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other essential programs.

Census counting is a constitutional mandate to count every person, documented or not, Turner said.

“The census is not about your local city officials. This doesn’t fund the mayor. This funds services that the federal government sends money to.”

As it stood in August, the city was set to lose out on $300 billion in federal funding over the next 10 years. Now, Flint is projected to receive most of these funds.

“That is because of the team we have. This is totally a team operation. We’ve been out there and we did the job,” Turner said.

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...