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Stop accepting the numbers as truth

Thursday, Mar 31, 2011

* It blows my mind that almost nobody is considering a recount of Chicago’s miserable census results. The city is down 200,000 people, but when you drill down, the numbers just don’t look right to me and to others I’ve consulted. Yet, the media is meekly accepting the figures as carved in stone or something. From a Sun-Times editorial

Admit it.

The news that Chicago was the only top 10 big city in the nation to see its population shrink over the last decade had you asking yourself:

What am I still doing there?

Or is it just us?

Detroit appealed its count 10 years ago and added 50,000 people. It’s planning yet another recount. New York City is likely to ask for a recount as well.

Yet, Mayor Daley is silent and the media just accepts the figures as gospel.

* For crying out loud, even Murphysboro is doing a recount. Suburban Westmont is also considering an appeal. It’s a pretty common thing. The city would have to pick up the cost, but the state might be convinced to kick in since Illinois narrowly missed out on keeping its 19 congressional seats intact.

Here are just a handful of stories from around the country about recounts…

* Davenport mayor presses for census recount

* Plainfield, NJ Seeking Census Recount

* White County [TN] is considering a possible Census recount

* WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — West Palm Beach wants a recount after its latest U.S. census figures left the city about 80 residents short of 100,000.

* Little Flock, Ark. Mayor Challenges Census Bureau Count

* NC towns appealing census data due to fears of losing funding

* Roswell, NM to appeal census count

It’s time to at least consider it.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


66 Comments
  1. - shore - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 10:25 am:

    If they didn’t get the count right we should be holding the Cook County democrats responsible. Stroger held some ridiculous event where they paid former chicago bears to come to a pep rally for cook county beuracrats to get them excited to count people. apparently this did not work.


  2. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 10:26 am:

    Rich,

    Is it not apparent that Daley has check out and figuring out what he wants on his retirement pizza? I pretty sure Rahm will take care of business in a couple of weeks.


  3. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 10:27 am:

    “Roswell, NM to appeal census count”

    This works for me on several levels…


  4. - Hawthorne Abendsen - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 10:31 am:

    After much thought, I have come to the conclusion that while facts are stubborn things, reality is entirely subjective.


  5. - amalia - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 10:34 am:

    or maybe the count is what it is.

    take a look at DC. things have changed dramatically there. it is barely a 50% African American City. what about NYC? the African American population there is lower than from years ago. there is a natural exodus to the suburbs. Detroit is rebuilding
    but for the residents who were burned out. other cities are ending public housing and building for the rich.

    pretty soon, Chicago will tip into the lake because there is so much activity on the lakefront. the weight of Millenium Park with the tiny bag filed with sculpture alone tips it. buildings and services for the lakefront and connected. outer areas of the city are becoming forgotten and neglected, from street conditions to parks. if you live in nearby burbs you see it. people left, rich people came in.


  6. - Ramsin - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 10:34 am:

    Rich,

    What in your drilling down arose your suspicion?


  7. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 10:37 am:

    Various things, Ramsin.

    For instance, I know that some areas lost population when public housing was demolished, but those residents don’t show up anywhere else. Ten years ago, there was a huge black migration shown in the south suburbs, but that wasn’t the case this time.


  8. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 10:43 am:

    I am not sure if the Census got an accurate snapshot (they are tasked with an impossible job), but a Census Bureau under the most urban-centric administration since FDR would be expected to make extra efforts to get this right. The urban drain shows up in multiple jurisdictions; maybe it is what it is, more or less. Need to look at internal, between state, and international in- and ex-migration to fully understand Chicago, and it will likely take some time to get a handle on it.


  9. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 10:45 am:

    Maybe CommandoKirk could wake up and do it?


  10. - jeff - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 10:54 am:

    Maybe they think they dodged a bullet and the actual numbers are worse? City revenues in many areas would show lower numbers if this is the case. School enrollment/attendance would be a number to examine as well. There should be lots of data to deny or confirm the Census report.


  11. - whet moser - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 10:56 am:

    Not saying you’re wrong or that we shouldn’t conduct a recount–indeed, I can’t help but think that the demolition of public housing put a lot of people between permanent housing.

    But one thing to keep in mind is that southern cities have seen substantial black population growth at the same time that northern cities have seen a black population decline.

    Like I said, that’s not reason not to recount. It wouldn’t surprise me if the truth is somewhere in between.


  12. - MikeMacD - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 10:57 am:

    “… Illinois narrowly missed out on keeping its 19 congressional seats intact.”

    Does anyone here recall by about how much the population count increase was needed in order for Illinois to keep its 19 Congressional seats?


  13. - Ramsin - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:03 am:

    Rich,

    Lending credence to that analysis is that it would be surprising if, say, Posen and Chicago Heights weren’t diligent in making sure their new residents participated in the census.


  14. - Ramsin - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:04 am:

    damnit, wouldn’t* be surprising.


  15. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:04 am:

    —Does anyone here recall by about how much the population count increase was needed in order for Illinois to keep its 19 Congressional seats?

    ~75,000 people.


  16. - Spring - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:05 am:

    It’s an excuse to reduce staff, police fire, teachers, no recount needed


  17. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:12 am:

    –If they didn’t get the count right we should be holding the Cook County democrats responsible. Stroger held some ridiculous event where they paid former chicago bears to come to a pep rally for cook county beuracrats to get them excited to count people. apparently this did not work. –

    Trying to find something reasonable there, but alas…

    The U.S. Census Bureau does the count, shore, not Cook County “beuracrats.”


  18. - Steve Bartin - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:17 am:

    The President of the Unites States comes from Chicago. The Census Bureau says Chicago is the only top 10 city that lost population. Bad counting? Conspiracy? Yet, the Census Bureau somehow did a reasonably good count in the other major cities but just a bad count here in Chicago. There’s a lot of vacant land on the southside and westside. People have left. The Chicago Public School system has less students than 10 years ago. Downtown Chicago has 62,000 less private sector jobs than 10 years ago. Is down 200,000 that inconsistent with other facts?


  19. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:18 am:

    Hinz covered some of this in relation to the black population:
    here

    To make an appeal reasonably cost effective you need to find specific areas to target for appeal. So if you can find some mistakes in the maps such as misplaced blocks or something of that nature the job is much easier.


  20. - Don Davis - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:20 am:

    I handled the City of Chicago’s side of the Census in 2000 and have been trying to understand the results of 2010. At this point I agree that the City needs to look into a recount or at least understand the details better.

    One issue that comes up is the demolition of public housing. The CHA reduced the number of residents in high-rises throughout the 90s and demolished a large number of the high-rises by 2000, so I don’t think that was an impact.

    The Census Bureau started a program of on-going sample/surveys, American Community Surveys, in place of the long form during the 2000s. The survey numbers in 2009 showed a decrease of population in non-group quarters of 71,426 people. The actual census in 2010 showed a decrease of 199,297. This huge decrease makes me very suspicious that people were undercounted in 2010.

    One big issue now is the Census Bureau has not released the number of housing units in the city. So it becomes harder to understand if the issue is smaller household size or vacant housing due to foreclosures. In 2000, the City had 1,062,000 occupied housing units and 91,000 vacant units. In 2009, American Community Survey, the City had 1,063,000 occupied housing units and 162,000 vacant units. So they clearly reflected the impact of the housing crisis.

    One possible explanation of drop is a decrease in household size. I’m sure this is part of the issue. The reason for the drop in population in the American Community Survey results in 2009 is the average household size dropped from 2.67 in 2000 to 2.6 in 2009. This is a pretty big drop. If you assume that the number of occupied housing units remained basically the same. The average household size would have needed to drop from 2.67 to 2.49 in 2010. This is too big of a drop. And keep in mind if people lost their homes and moved in with family or friend, it would increase the household size, not reduce it.


  21. - Responsa - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:21 am:

    ==Ten years ago, there was a huge black migration shown in the south suburbs, but that wasn’t the case this time==

    Chicago’s numbers must be viewed in context of the entire metro area. How about the migration to the Western suburbs? To the Northern suburbs? How about the reverse migration down to the South? (and I don’t mean the south suburbs)

    Has any past census taken over more than 200 years of our history ever been perfect? Probably not. Does everything deserve a “do-over” these days? No.

    There was much, much money spent on the prep for, bureaucracy and systems, canvassing personnel, and physical conducting of, the 2010 census. If there is in fact some real evidence that it was systematically bungled or not done properly then THAT is the scandal and the real story which should be investigated: why, and who was responsible.


  22. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:23 am:

    ===Yet, the Census Bureau somehow did a reasonably good count in the other major cities but just a bad count here in Chicago. ===

    Apparently, you cannot read.


  23. - Just Observing - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:28 am:

    The question that really should be asked is if the country should be moving away from this archaic, expensive self-reporting census to cheaper and arguably more reliable statistical sampling.


  24. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:30 am:

    Jeff and Don point to many corroborating sources of info. City vehicle registrations, utility bills, housing unit occupancies and vacancies, foreclosures and tax sales, voter registrations, etc. It would be impossible to track, but interesting to know how many moving van loads (commercial carrier as well as rented trucks) of household effects left the state vs. those coming in.


  25. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:30 am:

    ===The question that really should be asked is if the country should be moving away from this archaic, expensive self-reporting census to cheaper and arguably more reliable statistical sampling.

    The proposals for sampling involve doing the full count and then using sampling to make up for missed persons. It adds to the process and won’t make it any cheaper and will still rely on self-reporting to gather data.


  26. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:34 am:

    ===. The reason for the drop in population in the American Community Survey results in 2009 is the average household size dropped from 2.67 in 2000 to 2.6 in 2009. This is a pretty big drop. If you assume that the number of occupied housing units remained basically the same. The average household size would have needed to drop from 2.67 to 2.49 in 2010.

    Don, I don’t have the Saint Louis numbers handy, but St Louis had a pretty big drop in the household size, but once you looked at the suburbs the reason seems to be clear. Families moved out and all of the drop in Saint Louis population was amongst those under 18.

    Could a similar issue be taking place in Chicago?


  27. - Pingu - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:43 am:

    The Constitution also mandates “actual Enumeration” every 10 years, so something short of actual attempts at counting may not pass muster (even if a good idea).


  28. - soccermom - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:47 am:

    How do these numbers track with
    a) the increase in the number of housing units, which seems to have been enormous
    b) the vacancy rate in those new units and
    c) the number of foreclosures


  29. - Don Davis - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:48 am:

    A big part of the equation is the undercount. First to clear up one myth, “people hiding” is not the main reason for the undercount. If you don’t fill out your census form, the census bureau will follow-up with you, but eventually talk to neighbors, postmen, etc to get the information.

    One major issue is people not understanding who to count. For instance, children under the age of 5 are one of the highest undercounted groups. Its not like families are counting everyone else and “hiding” the children. In 2010, I could see people not counting friends and family staying with them temporarily, just because they don’t know they are suppose to.

    In 2000, I was fortunate to have an outreach budget of over a million dollars. Due to the fiscal crisis, I don’t think the City had close to the equivalent budget this time. The City assigned a team of some of the best and brightest City employees to work on outreach. Due to staff cut backs, I don’t think the City had the same number of people working on the outreach in 2010.

    Third, in 2000 we focused our efforts on achieving a complete count. The Census Bureau’s outreach efforts are focused more on a high mailback return rate. Our mailback return rate wasn’t that good in 2000, but I’m convinced that we did a great job in reducing the undercount.


  30. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:49 am:

    –One issue that comes up is the demolition of public housing. The CHA reduced the number of residents in high-rises throughout the 90s and demolished a large number of the high-rises by 2000, so I don’t think that was an impact.–

    Don, just so I’m clear, your contention is that most of the folks were already out of the high-rises at the time of the 2000 census?


  31. - OneMan - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:51 am:

    == The question that really should be asked is if the country should be moving away from this archaic, expensive self-reporting census to cheaper and arguably more reliable statistical sampling. ==

    No

    Using that same logic, why bother having people vote just use a poll.


  32. - Steve Bartin - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:55 am:

    Don,

    Thanks for clearing up some important information.


  33. - Don Davis - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 11:59 am:

    Archpundit,

    You are correct that with sampling there would still need to be a complete count. However, I believe it would reduce the expensive follow-up process and save huge amounts of money.

    It is possible and even likely that people with families moved to suburbs or elsewhere. But I’m suspicious of household size dropping so dramatically. (Keep in mind we don’t have occupied/vacant housing numbers, so household size is a projection). One reason I’m suspicious is the American Community Survey was showing a drop of .07 people per household. I don’t know why they would be so far off. Again my quick estimate would show a total drop of .18 people per household. Thats huge.

    One other comment about household size is its natural for built out cities to decline in population. Arlington Heights, Downers Grove and other suburbs decreased in population due to smaller household size. A big part of the reason is the house with a family ultimately becomes the empty nester or a widow living with herself. Likewise areas go through cycles as people with families move to specific neighborhoods and then the residents age.


  34. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 12:01 pm:

    Don said,

    “And keep in mind if people lost their homes and moved in with family or friend, it would increase the household size, not reduce it.”

    Five people live in one house, three in another. Average size is four.

    Three people move into the house with five people. Average size still four.

    Average size per household is not related to the number of people moving around within the city, but people moving in or out of the city or the increase and decrease in the amount of houses, no?


  35. - Don Davis - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 12:05 pm:

    Wordslinger,

    I believe the major reductions in residents in CHA highrises had already taken place by 2000. Some of this was due to closing off the top floors, part of this was demolition, and part was smaller household size. I can remember seeing maps showing where population decreased in the City from 1990 to 2000 and some of the biggest decreases were Cabrini-Green, Horner, Taylor, and other highrise areas.

    I’m not as sure with low-rise developments. For instance Altgeld has been undergoing a major gut-rehab renovation so I believe it would have been occupied in 2000 but significantly fewer people lived there in 2010. I also don’t remember the status of Lathrop and the ABLA lowrises in 2000.


  36. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 12:05 pm:

    ==You are correct that with sampling there would still need to be a complete count. However, I believe it would reduce the expensive follow-up process and save huge amounts of money.

    Fair enough and thanks for the other responses–I’d have to agree Chicago needs to be looking at a recount if it can find a way to do it reasonably. My fear is that if the problem is widespread, the cost may be too prohibitive.


  37. - Just Observing - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 12:07 pm:

    == Using that same logic, why bother having people vote just use a poll. ===

    That’s a silly comparison. Under your premise the government would never utilize statiscal tools. If the U.S. Dept. of Transportation needed to predict highway use for next ten years, they could not use stats and other prediction modesl, they would have to go out and ask every American. If the U.S. Ag Dept. needed to determine corn yields, they could not use statiscal sciences, they would have to talk to every corn farmer out there.

    The census is not intended to be a vote count — where the outcome is determined by who participates and that’s the final word. It is not a win-lose situation. It is meant to capture the demographics of the country so government can respond by way of services and representation. Some would argue that the current method is less accurate than statisical sampling. So, OneMan, you are essentially having a kneejerk reaction to something that might be cheaper and more accurate.

    Voting is a different issue with a different legal and philosophical basis.


  38. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 12:08 pm:

    Thanks, Don.


  39. - Don Davis - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 12:09 pm:

    Cincinattus,

    You said “Five people live in one house, three in another. Average size is four. Three people move into the house with five people. Average size still four.”

    In the first example, you are correct that the average size if 4. However, it the second case, the average household size is now 8. This is because you are dividing by the number of occupied housing units. In the first case 2 and in the second case 1.


  40. - jake - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 12:15 pm:

    Rich,

    I agree with you completely. A potential problem becomes even more likely when you look at the numbers by race. The number of African-Americans in the city went down (according to the census) while the numbers in the surrounding counties did not go up. The only way this can be true is if substantial numbers of Africans moved from Chicago to out of state, or if the African-American mortality rate went up or the birth rate went down. It seems to me a major undercount of African-Americans in Chicago is more likely than any of the other possibilities.


  41. - Don Davis - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 12:33 pm:

    Jake raises an interesting point related to the demographics of who is undercounted.

    One issue may be simply the nature of the changes the City is going through. Much of the new housing seems to be highrises in the greater downtown areas that will attract young professionals with no children or empty nesters. Some may also be second homes and not count as the primary residence for census purposes.

    On the other hand, my sense is the decrease in housing units is older single family homes in predominately African-American neighborhoods. These are the type homes that house families with larger household size.

    I still think the American Community Survey would pick up this change. But I don’t know the details of how the study was conducted. Also I’m not sure when the survey was taken. I cited it as 2009 based on the Census Bureau’s website, but it could be data from late 2008/early 2009. And at that point the foreclosure crisis had not fully hit.


  42. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 12:50 pm:

    Thanks, Don. So a household of zero is not counted as a household. However, the case would hold true in say a divorce, where two (of three) move back with the folks, while one stays in place.


  43. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 12:55 pm:

    One more though, the ACS is a statistical sampling using a demographic baseline established in 2000, if memory serves. If there were decent sized errors in 2000, and the sampling somehow had a big skew in it for that and other statistical reasons (after all, it is statistics), the ACS results can be slightly off kilter.

    Similarly, the Census can be slightly off kilter too.

    Statistically, two wrongs can sometimes make a right, but sometimes, two wrongs can make a REALLY BIG wrong.


  44. - Wumpus - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 1:46 pm:

    Westmont? What is SCOTT”S PET SHOP hiding people? If the denizens are too whatever to fill out the form, then they are too whatever to receive the federal funding that comes along with the numbers.


  45. - Martha - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 2:13 pm:

    I looked up the past census figures for Chicago: 1990 2,784,000
    2000 2,896,016
    2010 2,695,598
    It looks like Mr. Davis did an excellent job when he ran Chicago’s program in 2000.


  46. - Steve Bartin - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 2:35 pm:

    One interesting observation is: San Antonio was the only city in the 10 largest that grew above the national average growth rate of 9.7%. America really is a suburban nation.


  47. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 2:37 pm:

    Rich,

    I’ve had the exact same questions and the same feeling that the numbers just don’t jibe with my experience or observations. We have had significant Latino inflow and condo and apartment buildings galore which have attracted suburbanites back to the City. So why are the numbers so skewed and how come neither Daley, nor Emanuel nor any candidate anywhere is calling for a partial recount. Bizarre.


  48. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 2:40 pm:

    Chicago Cynic, Rich and Don,

    Given that Aurora and Naperville grew so rapidly, is it possible that some/much of the Chicago loss is their gain?


  49. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 2:55 pm:

    With what is at stake, it would seem a recount is worth a thought.

    I do believe that there are people who have a good idea whether the count of the population in town was fair on not. If there is a decent chance of success, then they should find the money.

    On the other had Detroit has legitimately lost a lot of population over 10 years. Perhaps some of that could have happened in Chicago as well.


  50. - Don Davis - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 3:02 pm:

    Plutocrat, I think it is likely that Chicago lost population over the decade;but I don’t think it was close to 200,000 people.

    I also want to build on the issue of the importance of the census. One issue is political representation. A second issue is formula grant funds. Over the course of a decade, a significant undercount would likely cost the City something like $100 to $250 million. Third, census data is used by businesses in locating a business. If they don’t see the numbers they won’t locate their business in the neighborhood. This hurts poor neighborhoods who need the business and jobs but have high undercount rates.


  51. - DuPage Red - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 3:10 pm:

    Wumpus - good try. SCOTT’S Pet Shop is in Westchester, not Westmont. Now, if you are talking about Scott’s PAWN Shop…


  52. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 3:13 pm:

    Kendall County was the fastest growing county in the US by percentage(out of over 3,000 counties) Will and Kane picked up well over 200,000 peeople between them. Obviously, not all of the growth is from Chicago, but ex-migration often happens in waves. Chicago to outer Cook, outer Cook to collars, collars to exurbs, and people of any location to another state. One of my demographer friends noted immigrants were 95% likely to land in Chicago as a first stop and slowly disperse elsewhere in the region. Around 2000, they started to bypass Chicago (and sometimes Cook) and go directly to the burbs.


  53. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 3:34 pm:

    I sort of remember a much more aggressive campaign to respond to the census in 2000. It seemed like this year, there wasn’t the same level of civic cheerleading for the census. I have no idea why, much less if my memory is correct.

    To those who saw the real estate bubble over the last decade in Chicago as evidence of population growth, my observations run contrary. A lot of the downtown condo market was purchased as investment property. A good chunk of the neighborhood boom was converting 2-flats into single family housing and McMansions that saw tear downs to two properties (or more) to make one huge single family home.

    I can see how Chicago lost population, and I think it’s worth looking into as far as a recount, especially with a CD at stake for Illinois.

    But Jeff might be better informed than me. What if the real number lost is more than 200K?


  54. - jerry 101 - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 3:37 pm:

    I certainly think that the 200,000 population loss doesn’t feel right, and that a recount is in order, but there is some evidence that it may not be that far off.

    I looked at the CAFR’s for CPS and CHA, as Jeff suggested, and found that CPS’s demographics went from ~435,000 students in FY 2000 to 409,000 students in FY 2010. If each CPS family has 2 kids in the system, on average, that would mean 13,000 fewer families with school age children. In order to control for single parents, if we further assume each household with school age children has 3.5 members, that would indicate a loss of about 45,000 people. However, in 2010, the number of students did tick up by about 1500. For the record, those student counts include charter school enrollment, so the decrease isn’t related to charter schools.

    CHA doesn’t have as good of data, but I did note that from 2007 to 2009, CHA only lost about 900 residents. However, from 2001 to 2009, The percentage of total CHA revenue derived from tenant rent went from 5.2% to 4.4%, which indicates a significant reduction in the number of rent-paying tenants. Total number of residents in households supported through vouchers increased from 2007 to 2009 from 94,000 to over 97,000.

    During that time, CPS high school enrollment increased by 10,000, so elementary school enrollment is where the hit was felt. (It surged from 80k to 90k early in the decade, and stayed up - plus total graduates increased from 14k in 2000 to 22k in 2010, so YAY CPS - you’re doing something right (fewer drop-outs and more graduates)!!!!!!!)

    So, that shows fewer families staying in the city, or fewer families being formed. Which means that household size is shrinking (empty nesters, plus young people not starting families as early or moving out of the city, so reduced grade school enrollment).

    Anyway, I think that there should be a recount. Given the stats on CPS, there is strong indication that there should be a decrease in population, but not 200,000. I wish CHA had better information available, because that could tell us a lot about the change in public housing residents. Their budgets and CAFR’s have little pre-2007 data available.


  55. - jerry 101 - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 3:46 pm:

    found better historical data on CHA’s website.

    In 2000, there were about 53,000 CHA residents (not including Section 8)

    In 2010, there were 29,000 CHA residents. Senior residents increased by 400 in that time, so the decrease was all in family units, so much of that decrease is reflected in the CPS changes. But that is still a decrease of about 14 or 15,000 CHA residents. So, there’s no way that the high rise tear downs could cause a net decrease of 200,000 residents.


  56. - Pat Robertson - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 4:26 pm:

    “Facts are the enemy of truth.” Cervantes
    “And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.” Forest Gump


  57. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 5:06 pm:

    Just FYI, from the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/us/25south.html

    “The five counties with the largest black populations in 2000 — Cook in Illinois, Los Angeles, Wayne in Michigan, Kings in New York and Philadelphia — all lost black population in the last decade. Among the 25 counties with the biggest increase in black population, three-quarters are in the South.”

    As a 20-year resident of Chicago, I can say that in the last decade it has become very expensive to live here, and as downtown has been glossed up, certain neighborhoods have gentrified while others have emptied out. Vast stretches of the South and West Sides are wastelands. It wouldn’t have come as such a shock if the media had been paying attention and not distracted by the glitz.


  58. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 6:04 pm:

    Rich, thanks for getting the discussion going. No one else even thought about it. What a huge deal.

    Don, always a pleasure to converse with someone who knows what they’re talking about. You should put out an RFP and have the brain surgeons at the Civic Committee fund your work on keeping a Congressional seat. They’re not smart, apparently, but they do have money.

    Arch, if 75 grand is a the population increase needed for another Congressional seat, it would seem to me that a lot of folks on both sides of the aisle could get personally involved in their jobs and make it happen.

    Durbin, obviously. Mr. Roskam, you’re the GOP pinup of the moment, get it done. Rep.Schock? . How about letting that Walsh guy loose? They’re must be a conspiracy here somewhere.

    75 grand, on a base of 311 million? That’s not even a rounding error. That’s picking pepper out of fly stuff.

    Make it happen, Illinois clout.


  59. - Don Davis - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 6:09 pm:

    As discussed below, between 1990 and 2000, the number of residents in CHA family units decreased by 42,000 but the City’s population went up about 100,000. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of residents in CHA family units decreased by 23,000 but the City’s population decreased by about 200,000. Clearly the demolition of CHA family units is not the cause of the City’s population drop.

    The numbers came from the CHA’s website and from the CHA’s Moving To Work annual reports.

    As of Dec. 31, 2000, the CHA reported 44,592 people in 15,629 units. As of Dec. 31, 2009, the CHA reported 21,863 people in 7,949 units. This reflects a decrease of about 23,000 people living in family units from 2000 to 2010. Senior units as noted were stable.

    A Tribune newspaper article cited the population of family units at 86,500 in 1990. So from 1990 to 2000, there was a decrease of roughly 42,000 people in family developments.


  60. - Don Davis - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 6:29 pm:

    Wordslinger,

    Since I consider you one of the best commentators here, I really appreciate the complement.

    Rich and everyone is on target saying this needs to be looked into more. I spent about 45 minutes on my computer and could show that this wasn’t the result of CHA demolitions. Jerry 101 independently did the same type research and came up with similar numbers. So why isn’t the local media looking into this more?


  61. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 7:01 pm:

    –So why isn’t the local media looking into this more–

    They’re all in Peoria, covering the move of CAT from Illinois to Utopia.

    Not a great week for Illinois media and loudmouth political yabbos.

    How about this? We all work together to make CAT happy to grow in Illinois, and we scrounge up 75 thousand FIBs for a Congressional seat?

    Maybe our friends in Washington, D.C., can help us out on both fronts. For crying out loud, we have a president and a Daley as chief of staff.


  62. - SlingerBoy - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 8:54 pm:

    But where are all the coments about how Chicago is the ind captol of the owrld, how the USA can not live without the Chicago economy and so on and so forth? I always enjoy the humor here


  63. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 31, 11 @ 9:37 pm:

    Slingerboy, aren’t you the dude in the Russian Federation?

    FYI, comrade, Chicago is the fourth largest metro economy in the world. How’s it going in Moscow, where the average life expectancy is declining in the 21st Century?

    How’s that rule of law working for you there in your “democracy?” Can you hold onto half without getting jailed or whacked by your government? From the czars to the commies to Putin, you guys could never get it right.

    Oh well, do what you’ve always done. Crack open a bottle of Old Ivan Skullpopper and drink through another day.


  64. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 8:48 am:

    Asking Roskam and Schock to go all out is kinda funny considering that the Democrats control the map. Appeals to Durban, Obama and W. Daley make more sense.

    But this is an opportunity for bipartisanship. How about an agreement (you know, not like the ones that Quinn backs out on) where the Republicans and Democrats work together to get the seat, and the district becomes apportioned as a literal coin-flip for voter preference (If Dems win, the district is biased D and vice versa).


  65. - Dan Vock - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 1:13 pm:

    If memory serves, a recount would NOT affect congressional representation. But there would still be other benefits, given the many ways Census data is used.


  66. - jake - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 3:23 pm:

    Just to reiterate–if you look at race, it can’t just be that Chicago’s loss is the suburbs’ gain, because the African-American population in Chicago went down way more than the African American population in the suburbs went up. So something is weird in the County of Cook.


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