Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Being counted matters most in MAT-SU

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Wednesday, April 07, 2010

boroughsealMAT-SU— In Alaska, being counted matters most in the MAT-SU. We stand the most to gain. Since the 2,000 U.S. Census, our population has grown 42 percent, well above the state average.

Other communities here have grown faster. Knik-Fairview has grown radically, 96 percent since 2000 and is now as large as a sizeable Alaska town, population 13,824, according to State Economist Neal Fried. Fishhook grew 64 percent and Meadow Lakes, 52 percent.

If many residents fill out the Census forms it translates into this:

• we could possibly gain another State representative
• we could have our legislative districts redrawn with a more concentrated MAT-SU population rather than shared with other regions such as Valdez.
• Local Assembly districts will most likely be redrawn to reflect the growth and shifts in population

Also let’s not forget federal funding linked to population.

• $400 billion annually in federal funds are distributed based on federal population figures. If you are not counted, your community loses federal funds for projects such as roads, schools, hospitals and public transit.

Matanuska-Susitna Borough Manager John Duffy is pleased that the MAT-SU rate of returns for the forms has gone up, but hopes more people stick the forms in the mail.

“It is critical that residents complete the annual census questionnaire in order to obtain the appropriate state and federal legislative representation as well as allow us to receive the appropriate amount of state and federal grants, revenue sharing, and receipts,” Duffy said. “If our citizens do not complete these questionnaires, and we are under-counted, the damage will take a decade to fix and all of the federal tax dollars we submit every April 15th will go to some other community.”

Some 42 percent of MAT-SU residents had filled out and sent back their forms, as of Wednesday, April 7. That’s lower than Anchorage at 59 percent, and lower than the current national average at 62 percent. Ten years ago Alaska had the lowest rate of return on forms. Wasilla and Palmer are vying for best rate of return here, both with 56 percent of their residents returning a form. Houston has 37 percent.

“If you haven’t filled out a Census form, seek them out. It will affect Mat Su’s community funding and infrastructure investment over the next 10 years,” —Cindy Bettine, MAT-SU Assembly Member

This week more U.S. Census forms will arrive in the mail for residents who did not return theirs. Beginning in May, census takers will knock on doors for residents who did not return a form that was left at the door. The U.S. Census has many locations in the MAT-SU to get a form or ask a question.

For questions: 1-866-872-6868
For Russian speakers: 1-866-965-2010.
Additionally, on April 12, you can call that number and be counted over the phone.

Locations and hours for Census help.


• Carrs Quality Center, Wasilla
595 East Parks Hwy.
Tuesday-Friday 3 pm-6pm
Sat. 11am-3pm

• Wasilla Senior Center, 1301 S. Century Circle
Monday-Friday 10am-1pm

• Curtis Menard Sports Center, 1001 S. Mack Dr.
Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

• Three Bears grocery, 445 North Pittman Rd., Wasilla
Tues. 4pm-7pm, Wed. 1pm-4pm, Thurs. 4pm-7pm,
Friday 4pm-7pm, Sat. 1pm-4pm


• Matanuska-Susitna College, College Road, Mile 2
Mondays and Tuesdays, 2pm-5pm, Wed. 3pm-6pm, Thursday 10 am-1pm, Friday 9am-noon.

• Three Bears grocery, 8151 E. Palmer-Wasilla Hwy.
Monday and Wed. 4pm-6pm
Thursday 1pm-4pm
Friday 4pm-7pm
Saturday, noon-5

• Carrs, 535 W. Evergreen Ave.
Monday 4pm-7pm
Tues. 1pm-4pm
Thursday 1pm-4pm
Friday 4pm-7pm
Saturday 1pm-4pm

• A "Be Counted" box is at
Millers Market, mile 57.5 Parks Highway

• Big lake Public Library, 3140 South Big Lake Road
A “Be Counted” box
Blank forms available if you feel you weren’t counted.

For local information call Gloria Yates with the U.S. Census at (907) 444-5929.