U.S. Census Bureau Rejects City's Appeal

The United States Census Bureau rejected New York City’s appeal of the bureau’s 2010 population count because the errors cited by the city did not meet the Bureau’s qualifications, according to a statement issued Sunday by the Department of City Planning. That means the Bureau’s tally of 8.175 million city residents will stand as the baseline for population estimates until the next Census in 2020.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg had to submit a formal appeal on behalf of New York City last August. He acknowledged the challenges associated with the counting process, but said the current total missed residents across the city — particularly in portions of Queens and Brooklyn.

The city submitted documentation to “refute the prevalence of widespread vacant housing units” in Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst in Brooklyn and Astoria and Jackson Heights in Queens, describing those neighborhoods as “stable, growing and vibrant.”

But in a letter to city officials, Arnold A. Jackson, U.S. Census Bureau’s acting chief of Decennial Management, outlined the only types of errors the Bureau would correct under it’s 2010 Count Question Resolution (CQR) program. Those errors related only to objections over geographical boundaries and the processing of data after it was collected. Under this program, there is no mechanism to challenge the actual numbers counted in specific tracts.

Officials from City Planning called the Bureau’s decision “unfortunate,” but that they hope to work with their counterparts to improve the procedures to make sure the 2020 count is more accurate.

The 2010 Census number for the city has already been used for Congressional redistricting. It will also set a lower baseline for population estimates between now and 2020 — those are the numbers agencies use when appropriating federal dollars to the city.