By Mike Schneider – The Associated Press
One of the most prosperous cities in the US over the past decade believes it has grown even more than the US Census Bureau says.
Austin, Texas, became the largest US city to challenge its 2020 census numbers when it filed an appeal with the Census Bureau last week, saying it had more than 961,855 residents counted during the once-a-decade nation’s census.
City officials believe about 7,000 housing units have been lost, most of them in newly developed neighborhoods. In some cases, condominiums have been misplaced, said Austin-based demographer Lila Valencia.
“We are one of the fastest growing regions in the country,” Valencia said. “Any area that is growing as fast as Austin is going to be hard to quantify.”
Among the 50 largest cities in the United States, Austin’s growth rate of 21.7% between 2010 and 2020 was the second largest in the country, after Fort Worth, Texas, which grew by 24%. As of last July, Austin was the 11th most populous city in the United States
Austin is at the center of one of the most prosperous metro areas in the United States, which has been attracting about 150 new residents per day in the middle of the last decade. The numbers were released last week show Austin’s suburbs, Georgetown and Leander, were the two fastest growing cities in the US last year, each expanding more than 10%.
For the past several years, the Austin metro has been a magnet for jobs. It’s home to Tesla’s headquarters As well as a high-tech hub for entrepreneurs who are attracted to the highly educated workforce and the premier school at The University of Texas.
Census numbers were used for dividing Interstate Congressional seats and redrawing political districts. Nothing can be done to change the numbers for these purposes, but the outcome of any challenges can determine whether cities and counties get their fair share when it comes to distributing $1.5 trillion in annual federal funding.
Valencia said an inaccurate statistic would result in Austin losing an unknown amount of funding for affordable housing, parks and low-income students. It is unknown how many people live in the 7,000 housing units. However, an average of approximately 2.4 people per household live in Austin, which translates to 16,800 people.
“This affects residents’ quality of life, so it’s worth making sure we get every dollar we deserve,” Valencia said.
The 2020 census reduced the total US population by just 0.24%. The count has been challenged by the coronavirus pandemic, natural disasters and political interference from the Trump administration. But some minorities It was underestimated rates greater than in the previous decade. Historically, racial and ethnic minorities, tenants, and young children are the people who are not counted.
A report released several weeks ago by the Census Bureau showed that Texas It was too little By 1.9%, or approximately 560,000 residents. Texas was among the many states with fewer resources that did not direct as many resources as other states did to encourage residents to fill out census forms.
Until Austin filed an appeal, It was Detroit The largest US city to challenge 2020 Census figures. The Census Bureau told Detroit officials they need to provide more information before the city’s appeal can move forward, a city spokesperson said in an email on Wednesday.
States and municipalities have until the middle of next year to resume their Census numbers. Challenges seldom successful, But so far nearly 30 have been launched. They have been raised primarily by small towns and counties, about half of which are in the South.
Residents of prisons, nursing homes, and college dormitories — places known as collegiate neighborhoods — have been among the hardest to tally during the 2020 census since students on campus were sent home when the pandemic began in the United States in March 2020, and prisons and nursing homes closed their doors. due to the spread of Corona virus.
Because of the difficulties of enumerating this population, the Census Bureau Create a separate program For the challenges of calculating a quarter of the group. The office will begin accepting those appeals next week.
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