Austin is the largest U.S. city to challenge the 2020 census figures

One of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. over the past decade believes it has grown even more than the U.S. Census Bureau claims.

Austin, Texas, became the largest city in the U.S. to challenge the 2020 census data when it filed an appeal with the Census Bureau last week, saying it has more than 961,855 residents in 10 years.

City officials estimate that about 7,000 housing units were lost, mostly in newly built-up areas. In some cases, housing units were located in the wrong place, said Lila Valencia, an urban demographer from Austin.

“We are one of the fastest growing regions in the country,” Valencia said. “Any region that is growing as fast as Austin will be hard to count.”

Among the 50 largest U.S. cities, Austin’s 21.7% growth rate between 2010 and 2020 was the second largest in the country, second only to Fort Worth, Texas, which grew by 24%. As of July last year, Austin was the 11th most populous city in the United States

The city of Austin is in the heart of one of the busiest subway areas in the U.S., attracting about 150 new residents a day in the middle of the last decade. Figures released last week show that Austin’s two suburbs, Georgetown and Leander, were the two fastest-growing cities in the U.S. last year, up more than 10% each.

For the past few years, the Austin subway has been a magnet for work. Here is the headquarters of Tesla, as well as a high-tech center for entrepreneurs who are attracted by a highly educated workforce and the flagship school of the University of Texas.

Census data were used to split seats in Congress between states and restructure political districts. Nothing can be done to change the figures for these purposes, but the outcome of any problems can determine whether cities and counties get their fair share when it comes to allocating $ 1.5 trillion in annual federal funding.

Valencia said an inaccurate calculation would lead Austin to miss an unknown amount of funding for affordable housing, parks and low-income students. How many people live in 7,000 dwellings is unknown. However, an average of almost 2.4 people live in each family in Austin, which translates to 16,800 people.

“It affects the quality of life of the residents, so we need to make sure we get every dollar we deserve,” Valencia said.

The 2020 census underestimates the total U.S. population by only 0.24%. The count was challenged by the coronavirus pandemic, natural disasters and political intervention by the Trump administration. But some minority groups have been underestimated more than in the previous decade. Historically, racial and ethnic minorities, tenants, and young children are underrated.

A report released a few weeks ago by the Census Bureau found that Texas was understated by 1.9%, meaning about 560,000 residents. Texas was one of several states with understated counts that did not direct as much resources as other states to encourage residents to fill out census forms.

Until Austin filed an appeal, Detroit was the largest U.S. city to challenge the 2020 census figures. The Census Bureau told Detroit officials they needed to provide more information before the city’s appeal could be promoted, a city spokesman said in an email Wednesday.

States and municipalities are due to appeal their census figures by the middle of next year. Challenges are rarely successful, but so far nearly 30 have been launched. They have been filed mostly by small towns and counties, about half of which are in the south.

Residents of prisons, nursing homes and college dormitories – places known as group quarters – have been among the most difficult to count during the 2020 census since students on campus were sent home when a pandemic in the United States began in March 2020. , and prisons and nursing homes have closed against the spread of coronavirus.

Due to difficulties in counting these residents, the Census Bureau has set up a separate program for group quarterly counting tasks. The bureau will begin accepting these appeals next week.

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Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP

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