Monday, April 4, 2011

Sense-less Census in NYC

The 2010 Census failed to capture the full population of New York City, and New York City is officially demanding that the Census Bureau fix the Census.

Hidden Homes

In New York City, there are many more homes than are obvious at first. Homes are subdivided (some illegally). Families move in together during tough times. New buildings are constructed that fail to appear on lists of addresses with dwellings. Many foreign-born New Yorkers are concerned that filling out Census forms, which are sent out by the federal government once every ten years, will subject them to mistreatment.

In the 2000 Census, the Census Bureau missed 240,000 residents in New York City.

In 2010, as the Census count was beginning, New York City had to provide 127,000 addresses to the Census Bureau for homes that the Census Bureau did not have on its list of homes.

The problem of hidden homes is particularly difficult in densely populated areas like New York City, where families may be hiding in plain sight.

Now, we see the hidden homes problem in the outcome of the 2010 Census.

2010 Census Undercount in New York City

New York City views the 2010 Census count of its population as an undercount of at least 200,000 (which is consistent with the 240,000 residents missed in the last Census). The 2010 Census put the New York City population at 8,175,133, but New York City estimates its population at 8.4 million. Making the Census numbers difficult to accept is the lack of population growth in growing sections of Queens and Brooklyn.

Brooklyn grew by less than 2% over the last 10 years according to the Census figures, and Queens experienced essentially no growth in a decade based on those same figures. The Census Bureau itself had estimated in 2009 that Brooklyn had grown by more than 4% since the 2000 Census, but their figures now suggest growth of less than half of that number.

The Census figures showing very little growth for New York City are a threat to the funding of New York City. A large portion of federal and state funding provided to New York City is based on the size of the New York City population. The type of major undercount that New York City believes has occurred in the 2010 Census could result in underfunding for New York City in housing, education, healthcare, and many other key funding categories.

As we have stated previously, the faster growth of states in the West and South relative to states in the Northeast has resulted in a shift of Congressional seats and electoral votes from the Northeast to the West and South. New York State is expected to lose two Congressional seats in the upcoming reapportionment. Though we and many others had expected the lost seats to come from Upstate New York where populations have declined, the disappointing growth figures in New York City may result in lost Congressional representation and political power in New York City.

New York City must successfully obtain corrected figures from the Census Bureau and overcome the problem of hidden homes in order to protect its funding and its political influence.

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