New Census numbers show population surge in city

April 23, 2012 Helen Klein
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Just days after rejecting the New York City’s appeal to up its 2010 Census count, the Census Bureau has released data indicating a huge growth in population for the five boroughs, and especially in Brooklyn and Queens, where city number crunchers contended the undercount had occurred.

As of June, 2011, the Census Bureau put the city’s population at 8,244,910, up some 70,000 people since April, 2010’s official Census count of 8,175,133 that had been disputed by the city as being approximately 200,000 people too low.

The city had based its appeal on what a spokesperson for the Department of City Planning (DCP) had called “clear anomalies in the census count in portions of Brooklyn and Queens that revealed significant shortcomings in the Census Bureau’s procedures, resulting in neighborhoods of high growth being undercounted.”

In Brooklyn, those areas included portions of Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst, which – contrary to the Census enumeration – have undergone a surge in population, according to residents and officials. But, the Census Bureau turned down the appeal, explaining that the errors that may have been unearthed were “not admissible” under the review process previously put in place.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

The numbers just released, said DCP Population Director Joseph Salvo, “Confirm our contention that the city is growing, notably in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, portions of which were the subject of our challenge to the 2010 Census.

“We are pleased that the Census Bureau has begun to recognize this growth,” he added, “but we continue to believe the real population is over 8.3 million based on our demographers’ scientific work and the historic track record of undercount among hard-to-enumerate populations in big cities.”

Local officials said that the evidence that the population of southwest Brooklyn had grown was obvious. “It comes as no surprise that New York City’s estimated population growth is among the nation’s highest, and that Brooklyn is leading the way when it comes to the five boroughs,” remarked Borough President Marty Markowitz. “We knew going into the 2010 Census that Brooklyn’s population had grown significantly, and it’s why I joined the city in calling for a review of the obviously flawed data that showed only negligible increases. That challenge was rejected, but it’s clear from the 2011 estimates that Brooklyn is becoming more and more a home to everyone from everywhere.”

I would hate to tell Census Bureau I told you so but… I told you so!” added City Councilmember Vincent Gentile. “You don’t need a clipboard to know that Brooklyn is growing by leaps and bounds. Meanwhile, some of the collected data implied that there were entire swaths of Bay Ridge that were vacant or abandoned. Ask anyone and they will tell you that is simply absurd. I am glad the Census Bureau has recognized that Brooklyn is growing. I just wish they had recognized it when it actually mattered.

The Census count affects the amount of federal money flowing into the city for the next decade for a laundry list of uses, from schools to hospitals. Census counts also affect representation, but officials knew that even if the appeal filed by the city in August, 2011, had succeeded, it could not have changed the allocation of representation, which has already been completed.

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