Anna Sale is the host and managing editor of Death, Sex & Money, a biweekly interview podcast at WNYC. A veteran public media reporter, Anna covered politics for years, including the 2013 New York City mayoral race, the 2012 presidential campaign, and the statehouse beat in Connecticut and West Virginia. She is a frequent fill-in host for The Brian Lehrer Show and The Leonard Lopate Show and has contributed to This American Life, NPR, Marketplace, PBS Newshour, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, Slate, and NY1.
Low NYC Census Count 'Doesn't Make Sense,' Says Bloomberg
Thursday, March 24, 2011
New York City grew by 2.1 percent according to 2010 Census numbers released today — but the mayor thinks that's a serious undercount.
"We don't quite understand the numbers," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at City Hall on Thursday morning, estimating that the city’s count of 8.175 million residents is off by as much as 225,000.
Bloomberg says the difference in number is surprising, given an estimation by the Bureau in March 2010 that projected the city's population to be about 8.4 million, as well as the heavy push his administration made to get New Yorkers to participate.
"We’re also surprised at the numbers this morning because we think we were successful in getting more New Yorkers to fill out and send back their census," he said.
He said many of today's numbers were baffling.
"For example, the Census Bureau determined the population of Queens increased by only 1,300 people…Think about that — 1,300 people over 10 years. I’m not criticizing them, but it doesn’t make any sense."
Bloomberg wasn't the only local politician casting doubt on the Census' results.
"I have to tell you I'm flabbergasted," Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz seconded. "I know they made a big, big mistake."
Across the state, the Hispanic population jumped by 19 percent, and the black population grew up 3 percent. (Because of census categories, there could be some overlap there for residents who identify as black and Hispanic.) The overall percentage of white residents fell by 1 percent, but New York State is still 68 percent white.
In other parts of the state, Buffalo's population plunged by more than 10 percent. Poughkeepsie swung the other direction, with a 9.6 percent jump to just under 33,000 residents.
The Census previously announced that New York will lose two Congressional seats this year because of its slow population growth relative to other states. This latest data provides the specific numbers the New York legislature will use to redraw both Congressional and legislative district lines.
The city’s concerns about an undercount could affect New York’s balance of power in Congress, according to an analysis by New York Public Interest Research Group. Because of the relative population growth in the Hudson Valley, upstate New York — meaning all districts outside of New York City, Long Island and Westchester County — should keep its ten Congressional representatives and the lost two seats should come from downstate, if the redistricting decisions are based on population change alone.