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Tennessee town of Whiteville challenged their 2020 census population figures, and the city won

Most of the victories for U.S. cities and towns that have tried to change their population numbers for the 2020 census have been small. But little Whiteville, Tennessee, turned out to be a big deal.

The U.S. Census Bureau has made public the results of the appeals of about a dozen cities and towns that say people were missed during the last count. So far, Whiteville has gained the most residents, 1,958. Its population is now 4,564, which means it could get a lot more money from both the state and federal governments.

Cities like Milwaukee are taking what they can get, even if it’s just a few hundred more people. After it was found that inmates from one of the local jails were mistakenly sent to a neighboring city, more than 800 people moved to Wisconsin’s largest city. That challenge was set up with other cities in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee is still working on a second appeal, which says that 16,500 people were missed in houses and apartments, mostly in communities of color. Milwaukee had 577,222 people living there in 2020, which is about 3% less than in 2010.

A spokesman for Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, Jeff Fleming, said, “We will start with the 817 people.” “When they say we lost people, we have to fight.”

Along with Boston, Detroit, and Austin, Texas, Milwaukee is one of the largest U.S. cities that is going to fight its 2020 census numbers. These cases are also still being heard and could lead to bigger changes. Through two Census Bureau programs, about sixty smaller cities, towns, and villages have questioned their population counts.

The results for more than a dozen cities and towns have been posted by the statistical agency. In Cleveland, Georgia, the city grew by only four people, and only one house was added to its borders.

A large number of changes were made because jails or prisons sent inmates to the wrong jurisdiction. These places, along with college dorms, nursing homes, and military barracks, were some of the hardest to count as the coronavirus spread across the U.S. in the spring of 2020, during the most important weeks for the census. When those people were supposed to be counted, they were sent home from school and locked up in prisons and nursing homes.

Some city officials were upset that they couldn’t change the numbers because, they say, the Census Bureau didn’t take into account the details of each case.

In Kent, Ohio, officials weren’t worried about how many people they counted overall. Instead, they were worried about how many people they didn’t count in certain wards, especially in a neighborhood where hundreds of Kent State University students used to live but left when remote learning was made mandatory during the pandemic. In the last ten years, there was a building boom in the neighborhood.

After the appeal and change, 12 people moved from Kent to the nearby township of Franklin, and the Census Bureau didn’t address the city’s concerns, said Bridget Susel, who is in charge of community development in Kent.

“This doesn’t match the way things went. “If you’re going to count, let’s make sure we count the right number of units,” Susel said. “I was disappointed by it.”

There is nothing that can be done to change how the states were given congressional seats or the numbers that were used to redraw political districts. But changes can be used for future estimates of the population, which help decide how the federal government spends $1.5 trillion. The deadline for states, counties, and cities to file challenges is this summer.

Some cities’ cases have been settled without the Census Bureau letting the public know what happened. The Census Bureau said in a statement on Wednesday that cases are dealt with in the order that they are received.

“How quickly a case moves through the process depends on how big and complicated it is,” the bureau said.

The number of people living in Whiteville, Tennessee, which is mostly Black and is about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of Memphis, went from 2,606 to 4,564 because inmates at a prison weren’t counted. Because of the change, the state will get an extra $20,000 to $30,000 a month from taxes based on the number of people living there. About 30% of the town’s budget is made up of this money.

It wasn’t easy to win. Angelous Simmons, the City Recorder, had to give the Census Bureau numbers about the prison’s population and its location to prove that it was in the city. He also had to call and email the Census Bureau several times to follow up.

Simmons said, “That is a big chunk of our budget.” So it was important enough to fight for.

Raymond Simpson

Raymond Simpson is a California native, a longtime Coral Springs resident, and the Editor at TSFD. He lives with his family in Coral Springs, where you can find him on weekends running – literally running – with his two golden retrievers.

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