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Size matters, New York tells Census Bureau

August 12, 2011 |  5:57 am

New YorK City census
Does size matter?

When it comes to census figures, it does. That's why New York officials have officially challenged the population estimate for New York City in the 2010 U.S. census, which says about 8.1 million people live in the nation's largest metropolis.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others say the number is about 8.4 million, and they base their estimate on housing statistics and other data collected by city officials. Unless the numbers are adjusted upward, they say, the city could miss out on hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for health, education, public housing and social programs.

"The census numbers simply don't add up," New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote to Census Bureau officials in a letter supporting Bloomberg's demand for a closer look at his city's population estimate.

Bloomberg took particular issue with the Census Bureau's conclusion that two of New York's most populous boroughs -- Queens and Brooklyn -- grew respectively by just 0.1% and 1.6% over a 10-year period. Some neighborhoods within those boroughs were reported by the census to have actually lost people, something the city says is impossible based on its information.

Thousands of housing units in those areas were erroneously described as vacant, Bloomberg alleged in a letter sent this week to Robert Groves, the director of the Census Bureau.

"It is our expectation that the City's population could increase by tens of thousands of New Yorkers if the errors from those two Census offices alone were corrected," Bloomberg wrote, adding that he recognized that counting New Yorkers "is a herculean and unenviable challenge" given the city's diverse and dense population.

However bad New Yorkers feel about their city's alleged size, they have nothing on Detroit. That troubled city's mayor, Dave Bing, is disputing census figures that showed Detroit's population plunging 25% from 2000 to 2010.


Burbank, Glendale getting older

Op-Ed: Detroit's population woes

Census tracks California's population growth

-- Tina Susman in New York

Photo: Does this look like a slow-growing city? Manhattan and its environs, as seen from the air. Credit: Kathy Willens / Associated Press