Census Bureau releases 2020 state population numbers

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Census Bureau releases the 2020 state population numbers.

Missouri saw an increase in population of around 149,000 people and Kansas saw an increase of just over 77,000 people. Those numbers are important, because they play a key role in federal funding allotted to those states.

The numbers we’re about to go over come from the George Washington University’s Institute of Public Policy. For the 2015 fiscal year, the State of Kansas received around $4.5 billion for 16 large federal assistance programs. The State of Missouri received around $11.3 billion for 16 large federal assistance programs. With Monday’s release of state counts, that will determine what amount of federal funding the states will get over the next ten years.

For the City of Joplin, it plays two key roles at the local level. The first, resources. Joplin City Manager Nick Edwards “The census is important, an important effort that one, helps us determine resource needs, if we’re growing population or seeing changes in demographics, it’s important from a city perspective that we have the resources we need to serve the public.”

The other notable impact on the city is for Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG funds. “So that, that is probably the primary way we receive funds and that’s based on low to moderate income population or not-for-profit work, and so, the census may change dramatically, but if that group doesn’t change it maybe wouldn’t change the amount of funding that we receive.”

Back on the wider state picture, one of the sixteen programs that receives federal funding based on population is the National School Lunch Program, which benefits students attending Joplin Schools. Food Service Director Rick Kenkel says “We do have a federal lunch, breakfast and lunch program that we turn in reimbursement claims to the state, and I think the state receives that federal funding to support that free and reduced lunch program.”

Kenkel says that funding ensures all students have a meal at school. “I think it’s vitally important that our students who qualify for free and reduced, that they don’t have to worry about having the funds to pay for their lunches or maybe a reduced rate like thirty cents for breakfast, or forty cents for lunch, it’s a huge benefit to our students.”

Monday’s report also included state legislative district changes, which, for the four-state area, no changes are being made. The full census data, including things like demographics and municipality populations, will be released later this year.