- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Dozens of U.S. cities line up to contest census
The appeals process offers the first test of 2010 census results, which found a large-scale population shift to Sun Belt states that tend to lean Republican. In a surprise, blacks in search of jobs increasingly left big cities such as Detroit, Chicago and New York for the suburbs and the South, leading to the first black declines in Michigan and Illinois since statehood.
The challenges won’t affect congressional apportionment and redistricting — revisions to the count don’t affect the redrawing of political boundaries — but they can affect how federal money is handed out.
Population-based federal money goes for programs such as health care, roads and schools. About 60 percent is devoted to Medicaid.
If Houston were to successfully challenge its count as missing 158,475 people based on census estimates released in 2009, Texas could get roughly $948 per person more in Medicaid money, or more than $150 million a year.
There are other effects.
In Detroit, the city’s overall 25 percent decline over the past decade to 713,777 people put the city below the important threshold of 750,000, the level to qualify for some state and federal aid programs, said Mayor Dave Bing, who is challenging the count. One state provision barred Detroit from maintaining its 2.5 percent city income tax rate because of the decline, forcing Michigan lawmakers to pass legislation this month allowing Detroit to keep collecting from taxpayers.
In terms of jobs, “businesses might underinvest in a community because they couldn’t see the true size of the market, say, for a grocery store,” adds Andrew Reamer, a George Washington University public policy professor who wrote a report on the subject for the Brookings Institution, a think tank. “The revenue from federal aid and other sources means cities may be able to borrow less, reduce taxes or spend it on a park or new highway turnoff.”
In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the city’s 2010 count of 8.2 million missed 200,000 people. He calls it “totally incongruous” that census takers would determine that over half of the 170,000 new housing units added in the city over the last decade were vacant.
Many of the vacancies were in southern Brooklyn and northwestern Queens, which have seen fast growth of working-class immigrants including Chinese, Russians and Arabs. While the census found steady growth in Manhattan and other boroughs, Queens did not grow, and Brooklyn grew by under 2 percent. Some of the homes the city says were missed may have been illegally divided houses with owners reluctant to disclose the number of tenants, who are often undocumented residents.
“The picture the census has drawn of these communities is simply not possible,” said Joseph J. Salvo, director of the population division of the New York City’s Planning Department. “When it says we gained 170,000 housing units but added only 167,000 people, it doesn’t take a demographer to figure out something is wrong. Realtors are calling us and people are asking where the vacant units are, because they want to rent them.”
The average household size in New York City is 2.57 people.
Jersey City, N.J., now in a turnaround after it was afflicted with blight and economic decay decades ago, is paying an outside consultant $25,000 in hopes of proving to the Census Bureau that it has surpassed Newark as New Jersey’s largest city.
Other cities considering challenges based on the costs and potential financial rewards include St. Louis; Atlanta; and the California cities of Santa Ana, San Jose and Long Beach. Faster-growing smaller cities in Texas such as Cibolo, outside San Antonio, and Tyler, near Dallas, already have filed appeals, saying they have evidence that the census used outdated boundary lines or missed pockets of people.
Census Director Robert Groves notes preliminary analyses that show matched, if not improved, performance from 2000 in terms of mail-back rates and reduced duplicates in housing lists. The overall 2010 numbers are also largely consistent with independent U.S. birth and death records, although some initial comparisons suggest the census figure for blacks could have been undercounted by 1.5 percent to 3.8 percent. The government says it is too early to tell whether there was a black undercount without additional analysis, now under way.
The first results from the city challenges are expected this fall, with most appeals taking about six months. A broader assessment of census accuracy is expected sometime next year.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- House votes for bargain to end budget drama
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Jane Fonda Foundation fails to make single contribution in 5 years: report
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow