Boston Wins 4th Census Challenge; City's Population Continues to Grow
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For Immediate Release
December 01, 2009
Released By:
Mayor's Office
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Mayor's Press Office

Census Bureau again adjusts figures following Mayor's challenge; Raises city's population to 620,535

City still contends population should be 630,384

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today announced that the City has won its fourth consecutive census challenge after the U.S. Census Bureau officially increased its July 2008 population estimate numbers for the City of Boston from 609,023 to 620,535. Despite the more than 11,000 person increase, the City still contends that Boston's true population estimate should be 630,384. The 9,849 person difference is a reflection of how the Census Bureau calculated Boston's share of the Suffolk County population. The City believes that the Census Bureau has failed to adequately reflect the city's proportion of the county and will send a letter to the Bureau to implore that it correct this percentage before it begins work on the 2009 population estimates. Not counting these people leaves $12 million in federal funding at stake for the City of Boston.

"Providing accurate information and analysis is critical to our economic climate. I'm happy to see that the Census Bureau has accepted part of our challenge and revised its population estimate for Boston, but I still believe that our population is even higher," Mayor Menino said. "It is critical that we continue to fight for accurate census estimates as we lead up to the 2010 census."

Mayor Menino added, "The implications of the Census numbers are enormous. This is the fourth year in a row that I have fought to find the truth in the data because population counts directly affect our levels of federal funding and private investment," referring to the U.S. Conference of Mayor's estimate that each person missed in the Census translates into a loss of $1,230 in local funding.

In early October, Mayor Menino notified the U.S. Census Bureau that the City believed that the population estimate of 609,023 issued in July 2009, for the date of July 1, 2008, underestimated the city's true population, and should be raised by more than 21,000 people to 630,384. In the challenge, the City claimed that the Census Bureau: 1. did not fully account for all the adaptive reuse housing; 2. over counted the number of housing demolitions; and 3. failed to adequately reflect the city's proportion of Suffolk County.

As a result of last year's successful challenge of the 2007 estimate, the Census Bureau officially increased its population estimate numbers for Boston from 599,351 to 608,352 – the first time the City's population had been higher than 600,000 since the 1970's. Despite being pleased about that successful challenge, the City had contended that the estimate should've been raised to 619,250.

History offers a strong precedent for Mayor Menino's challenges. During the 1990s, the Census Bureau estimated a population loss for Boston for nearly every individual year, only to determine in the official enumeration of the 2000 Census that the city's population had in fact increased during the decade. The Mayor has been successful in all four of his challenges. Following the City's challenge in 2006, the Census Bureau raised Boston's 2005 population estimate from 559,034 to 596,638. In 2007, the City challenged the 2006 estimate of 590,763 and the Census Bureau raised the population to 595,698.

Mayor Menino was again supported in his challenge by the Research Division of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, which compiles, monitors, and analyzes a wide range of data relevant to the local and regional economies.

"Again, our Research staff provided critical data to prove that the Census Bureau's estimate was too low," said John F. Palmieri, Director of the BRA. "We will continue to track and analyze this data to make sure that Boston's population continues to be accurately represented."



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