UNITED STATES NEWS

Census Bureau rejects many big-city challenges that claimed the 2020 headcount missed their people

May 12, 2023, 10:19 PM

Some of the largest U.S. cities challenging their 2020 census numbers aren’t getting the results they hoped for from the U.S. Census Bureau — an effort by Memphis to increase its official population resulted in three people being subtracted from its count during an initial appeal.

Some successes have come from challenges to totals of “group quarters” — dorms, jails and nursing homes. They were among the most difficult to count as campuses closed and prisons and nursing homes were locked down at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Census Bureau created a separate program to handle these challenges.

The Census Bureau has received more than 100 submissions in total for its two challenge programs from cities, towns and villages of all sizes across the U.S.

The challenges won’t affect how many congressional seats each state got during the apportionment process, or the more detailed numbers used for redrawing political boundaries. But new numbers could shape how the federal government distributes $1.5 trillion for transportation, health programs and other funding, which is most pertinent for cities.

State, tribal and local governments have until the end of June to file challenges, and any changes will be reflected in future population estimates that are calculated each year between censuses.

Here’s where the challenges stand for Austin, Boston, Detroit, Memphis, Milwaukee and Phoenix.

AUSTIN

Austin, determined to be the 11th most populous U.S. city with 964,000 residents, claimed that 7,329 housing units were missed. With an average Austin household size of almost 2.4 people in 2020, that could mean more than 17,500 residents overlooked.

The Census Bureau, however, added only a single housing unit, and provided little information on its methodology, officials in Texas’ capital said.

“This outcome is incredibly disappointing and disheartening,” Mayor Kirk Watson said in a letter to the bureau.

City officials plan to meet with Census Bureau officials in the near future to get a more detailed explanation of how bureau officials reached their decision.

BOSTON

Officials in Boston, a hub of higher education, believed the 2020 census missed more than 6,000 students living in university housing and 419 inmates at local jails. The Census Bureau approved the submission from Boston, which had 675,647 residents in the 2020 census, of which the city claimed 41,776 were students living in student housing.

“It’s no surprise that many of these special populations were miscounted due to the untimely and completely unanticipated emergence of a global pandemic that just happened to perfectly coincide with the 2020 count,” said Susan Strate, senior program manager at the UMass Donahue Institute, which assisted Boston in its challenge.

DETROIT

Detroit filed two challenges. One said the count shortchanged Michigan’s largest city by 8% of its occupied homes, overlooking tens of thousands of residents. The 2020 census found 639,111 Detroit residents, down from its 2019 population estimate of 670,052.

Detroit succeeded only with its group quarters challenge, adding 1,478 more people in 61 groups quarters, said Corey McIsaac, the city’s deputy director of media relations.

Detroit plans to challenge its annual population estimates through a separate program.

MEMPHIS

Memphis launched two challenges, saying the census missed 15,895 residents, and that Memphis grew since 2010, for the first time in 50 years. The 2020 census, however, found 633,104 residents, a drop of 13,785 residents from 2010.

Memphis was unsuccessful in its appeal of its housing count in which the city said more than 10,700 people were missed. The Census Bureau actually subtracted a housing unit and three residents, a result Memphis is disputing. The other challenge deals with misapplied geographic boundaries impacting more than 5,100 people, and is still pending.

“The Census count was wrong,” Allison Fouche, Memphis’ chief communications officer, said in an email. “The gains we have seen in investments in Memphis, especially in the core city, over the last few years tell a different story.”

MILWAUKEE

Wisconsin’s largest city succeeded with its claim that more than 800 jail inmates were missed, part of a challenge organized with other Wisconsin municipalities.

Milwaukee’s other appeal is still pending, claiming 16,500 residents were overlooked in houses and apartments, primarily in communities of color. The 2020 census put Milwaukee at 577,222 residents, down about 3% from 2010.

PHOENIX

Phoenix awaits a response to its challenge of its group quarters count, claiming 3,500 people in 192 facilities were missed, according to a letter from Mayor Kate Gallego obtained through a public records request.

The city said two jails were overlooked, along with drug and alcohol treatment centers, a group home for people with diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease and a residential facility for juveniles needing mental health treatment.

The census determined that Phoenix was the fastest-growing big city in the U.S. between 2010 and 2020, increasing by 11.2% to 1.6 million residents and making it the fifth most populous U.S. city.

___

Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at @MikeSchneiderAP

United States News

United States' forward LeBron James waves to the crowd after the end of an exhibition basketball ga...

Associated Press

LeBron James selected as Team USA male flagbearer for Paris Olympics opening ceremony

LeBron James wasn’t totally sure what the opening ceremony was all about when he was picked for his first Olympics in 2004. This time, he’ll be one of the stars of the show. James has been picked by his fellow U.S. Olympians to serve as the male flagbearer for the Americans in Friday night’s opening […]

57 minutes ago

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan speaks to employees in Washington, Thur...

Associated Press

EPA awards $4.3 billion to fund projects in 30 states to reduce climate pollution

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $4.3 billion in grants to fund projects in 30 states to reduce climate pollution. The money will go to 25 projects targeting greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, electric power, commercial and residential buildings, industry, agriculture and waste and materials management. The grants are paid for by […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares fall after Wall St ends worst week; Biden withdraw from 2024 race

Asian stocks were mostly lower Monday after President Joe Biden exited the 2024 race. The downbeat start to the week followed losses Friday on Wall Street as businesses around the world scrambled to contain disruptions from a massive technology outage. U.S. futures were little changed and oil prices rose. Biden announced his withdrawal from the […]

7 hours ago

FILE - San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris poses for a portrait in San Francisco, June 18...

Associated Press

Vice President Kamala Harris leads list of contenders for spots on the Democratic ticket

President Joe Biden’s decision to step down as the Democratic Party’s nominee for president opens the door for other contenders to become the Democratic nominee in November. The president has thrown his support behind Vice President Kamala Harris, and other prominent Democrats moved quickly to rally around her candidacy, but it’s unclear just how smooth […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Alaska police and US Coast Guard searching for missing plane with 3 people onboard

Alaska authorities are conducting a search for a missing airplane with three people onboard. Alaska State Troopers received a report from the U.S. Coast Guard of a missing plane shortly before 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the state Department of Public Safety said in a statement. The single-propeller, 1948 Beach Craft Bonanza was flying near Mount Crillon […]

8 hours ago

Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, arrives to speak at a campaign event ...

Associated Press

JD Vance makes solo debut as GOP vice presidential candidate with Monday rallies in Virginia, Ohio

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — To move overnight to set up Monday rally. Republican JD Vance will make his first solo appearances on the campaign trail Monday, a day after the 2024 presidential race was thrown into upheaval as President Joe Biden dropped out of the race, making the Democratic candidate an open question. Vance, an […]

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Census Bureau rejects many big-city challenges that claimed the 2020 headcount missed their people