UNITED STATES NEWS

Several Midwestern cities are going to be counted again like it’s 2020

Jan 2, 2024, 10:06 PM

FILE - The briefcase of a census taker is seen as she knocks on the door of a residence, Aug. 11, 2...

FILE - The briefcase of a census taker is seen as she knocks on the door of a residence, Aug. 11, 2020, in Winter Park, Fla. Eleven small cities in Illinois and Iowa are the only municipalities so far to have signed agreements with the U.S. Census Bureau for a second count of their residents in 2024, the first year the special censuses can be conducted, in a repeat of what happened during the 2020 census. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

Four years after the last census, almost a dozen small communities in the Midwest are going to be counted again in hopes of getting a new grocery store or more state funding to build roads, fire stations and parks.

Eleven small cities in Illinois and Iowa are the only municipalities so far to have signed agreements with the U.S. Census Bureau for a second count of their residents in 2024, the first year the special censuses can be conducted, in a repeat of what happened during the 2020 census.

With one exception, city officials don’t think the numbers from the original count were inaccurate. It’s just that their populations have grown so fast in three years that officials believe they are leaving state funding for roads and other items on the table by not adding the extra growth to their population totals. Some also believe that new results from a second count will open up their community to new businesses by showing they have crossed a population threshold.

“We anticipate a significant increase in population from the special census, particularly given that we have had a record building-permit year,” said Marketa Oliver, city administrator for Bondurant, Iowa, a city of more than 8,700 residents in mid-2022, the last year figures are available, which is an 18% increase over the count in 2020.

Officials in Norwalk, Iowa, hope the second count shows the city has surpassed 15,000 people, since that is the threshold typically used as a rule of thumb in commercial real estate for when a community can support a business like a supermarket.

“Once a city hits 15,000, the market opens up tremendously,” said Luke Nelson, Norwalk’s city manager.

Unlike the 2020 census, the second counts won’t be used for redrawing political districts or determining how many congressional seats each state gets. Instead, they will be used to determine how much the communities will get in state funding that often is calculated by population size. Communities losing population in the past three years have nothing to worry about — their declining numbers won’t catch up with them until after the 2030 census.

Local, state and tribal governments across the U.S. have until May 2027 to ask for a special census from the Census Bureau. While the tab for the 2020 head count was picked up by the federal government, the local municipalities have to foot the bill for their special censuses. The cost isn’t cheap, ranging from just over $370,000 to almost $500,000 for the communities.

Some communities have already forged ahead with their own do-it-yourself recounts, unwilling to pay the price tag for a bureau-organized special census. Others have challenged their numbers with the Census Bureau and gotten small wins.

The cities in Iowa paying for a Census Bureau-run second count in 2024 — Altoona, Bondurant, Grimes, Johnston, Norwalk, Pleasant Hill and Waukee — are fast-growing suburbs of Des Moines. The reason special censuses are so popular in Iowa is because the state uses the once-a-decade head count as the official population when it comes to funding based on population size, said Gary Krob, coordinator for the State Data Center at the State Library of Iowa.

Other states between censuses use annual population estimates for calculating how much funding local governments should get each year.

“That means the 2020 census population is currently the official count for every city and county in Iowa,” Krob said. “The only way to adjust your population count between now and 2030 is to conduct a special census with the Census Bureau and then have this new count certified by the Iowa Secretary of State.”

The geography of the Illinois cities and their reasons for seeking a second count — McDonough, Pingree Grove, Urbana and Warrenville — are a little more scattershot than in Iowa.

Officials in Warrenville, a suburb of Chicago with more than 13,500 residents in 2020, believe they can get an extra $1.2 million annually in federal and state funding, based on the calculation that they have added almost 1,000 new residents from several new housing developments.

The Village of Pingree Grove outside Chicago has experienced rapid growth, doubling from more than 4,500 residents in 2010 to more than 10,300 residents in 2020. Village officials believe there will be 12,300 residents in 2024, so the special census is needed to bring in an increased share of state revenues, “versus waiting another six years for the 2030 Census,” said Laura Ortega, the village clerk.

University of Illinois students make up about half the population of the college town of Urbana and city officials maintain the 2020 census missed a lot of them.

During the 2020 census, places with large numbers of students emptied out as campuses shut down in-person classes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Urbana’s expected modest population gain for the 2020 census ended up being a 7% decrease from the 2010 head count, with the largest decreases in student neighborhoods near campus, Mayor Diane Marlin said in an email.

The uncounted students are costing the city at least $500,000 to $750,000 annually in missing state and federal funding, the mayor said. The 2024 count in Urbana will be limited to neighborhoods that saw the biggest decreases.

“If we recapture our population through a more accurate count, we recapture lost revenue,” Marlin said.

___

Follow Mike Schneider on X, formerly known as Twitter: @MikeSchneiderAP.

United States News

A calendar shows the month of February, including leap day, Feb. 29, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in S...

Associated Press

Have a look at the whos, whats and whens of leap year through time

NEW YORK (AP) — Leap year. It’s a delight for the calendar and math nerds among us. So how did it all begin and why? Have a look at some of the numbers, history and lore behind the (not quite) every four year phenom that adds a 29th day to February. BY THE NUMBERS The […]

6 hours ago

FILE - Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim greets supporters outside Central High School on the day of the r...

Associated Press

Fatigue and frustration as final do-over mayoral election looms in Connecticut’s largest city

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — It’s been nearly four months since a judge tossed out the results of a Democratic mayoral primary in Connecticut’s largest city due to allegations of ballot stuffing, sending voters repeatedly back to the polls and thrusting Bridgeport into an unflattering national spotlight. Many frustrated local voters say they just want it […]

6 hours ago

Homes are seen on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in the southwest Portland, Ore., suburb of Beaverton. Th...

Associated Press

A housing shortage is testing Oregon’s pioneering land use law. Lawmakers are poised to tweak it

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A severe lack of affordable housing has prompted Oregon lawmakers to consider chipping away at a 1970s law that made the state a national leader in leveraging land use policy to prevent suburban sprawl and conserve nature and agriculture. The so-called urban growth boundary, a sacred cow of Oregon’s liberal politics, […]

6 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump hugs and kisses the American flag a...

Associated Press

Trump calls himself a ‘proud political dissident’ in CPAC speech

In a CPAC speech, Trump painted an apocalyptic vision of the future if President Joe Biden wins again as the two prepare for a rematch.

10 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the audience after spea...

Associated Press

Donald Trump wins South Carolina GOP primary, beating Nikki Haley in her home state

Trump has now swept every contest that counted for Republican delegates, with wins already in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Why AP called South Carolina for Trump: Race call explained

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press declared Donald Trump the winner of the South Carolina primary as soon as polls closed on Saturday. The race call was based on a comprehensive survey of South Carolina Republican primary voters that showed him defeating Nikki Haley by wide margins in her home state. Declaring a winner as […]

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Several Midwestern cities are going to be counted again like it’s 2020