By Cyril Josh Barker, Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News –
Census numbers released last week for New York City have elected officials asking questions and challenging the results.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, New York City currently has 8.175 million people. However, City Hall estimated the number to be about 8.4 million.
The city’s Black population saw a two percent decrease while the White population grew 0.6 percent. Asians saw the highest spike in population, with a 13 percent increase, especially in Brooklyn. The Hispanic population grew by 8.1 percent.
Breaking the numbers down by borough, Staten Island’s population grew the most during the last 10 years with 5.6 percent, Manhattan grew 3.5 percent, the Bronx saw a 3.9 percent increase, and Brooklyn grew by 1.5 percent.
Probably the most questionable numbers come from Queens, which only saw an increase in population of 0.1 percent in the last 10 years, equivalent to only 1,300 people.
Regarding those numbers, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others say that there was a miscount. Officials are looking to challenge the numbers to prove that they are higher so the city can get its fair share of financial resources. The mayor believes that there were errors in getting the census results for Queens and Brooklyn.
“Our administration has been looking at the census numbers nonstop since they were released last Thursday,” said Bloomberg. “And now we can say we plan to formally challenge the census results of our city under the Count Question Resolution process established by the Census Bureau.”
As a result of the census, New York State stands to lose two representatives on Capitol Hill. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said that the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t know how to court urban populations and that the city was shortchanged.
“These numbers are baffling,” he said. “If you believe them on their face, New York City added only a little more than 160,000 new residents in the last decade—a decade that any New Yorker from any part of the city could tell you saw tremendous growth in both Manhattan and the outer boroughs.”
Many elected officials are concerned about the recent budget cuts looming in government. Rep. Charles Rangel said that challenging the census is needed to make sure every community gets the money they are entitled to receive.
He said, “An accurate census count is so key to not just getting federal funding, but giving community businesses and nonprofits, the kind of demographic data they can use to attract new clients and provide services to residents.”
Census results and challenges have also prompted elected officials to take things into their own hands. Next week State Sen. John Sampson is creating a new taskforce to ensure that his conference’s commitment to redistricting reform is followed. The taskforce will undertake a statewide public outreach campaign to educate people on the redistricting process in hopes to get people interested in the census challenging process.
“Census figures have a direct impact on the services we guarantee all New Yorkers—any undercount in our state’s population could seriously jeopardize much-needed federal funding for schools, hospitals and transportation, among other vital services.
“Meanwhile in upstate, the population decline underscores the need for a comprehensive economic development plan to stimulate job growth,” Sampson said.
In Queens, State Sen. Shirley Huntley said that her district saw a decrease by 4,000 residents and that the data “astounded” her. She claims that there was an increase in people living in Queens.
“It is quite evident that there are more people living in particular areas that were undercounted by the Census Bureau,” she said. “It is important we gather accurate information. These findings should be investigated for their legitimacy because of the importance of receiving federal funding based on population and demographic data."