Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2010 Census Again Will Not Count Overseas Mormon Missionaries

Sunday's Salt Lake (UT) Tribune reported that, as in past years, the 2010 census will not count the estimated 11,000 Mormon missionaries living overseas. The only individuals not in the U.S. who are counted by the census are federal civilian and military personnel and those on merchant vessels. A test in 2004 to determine the feasibility of counting other Americans overseas was unsuccessful. The issue is of great concern to the state of Utah. In the 2000 census, it would have been entitled to an additional seat in the House of Representatives if it had 857 more people. Instead that seat went to North Carolina, home of many military bases. Utah's court challenges to census procedures have failed. Utah v. Evans (Sup. Ct. 2002). Only Congressional legislation can change the Census Bureau's decision, and that is unlikely in time for next year's census. An alternative approach was part of the proposal earlier this year to give the District of Columbia a voting representative in the House of Representatives. The bill (S. 160) would also have awarded an additional seat to Utah. That bill, however, stalled in the House over attempts by some in Congress to use the bill to also invalidate most of D.C.'s firearms regulations. (Background.)