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New Census rules could show smaller NYC

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With the permission of the U.S. Census Bureau, local enumerators in the 2000 Census counted types of housing not previously permitted, and now the federal agency is challenging some of New York City's reported population. Andrew Beveridge, professor and demographer at Queens College, suggests that New York City could possibly lose population in the 2010 Census under new and more stringent federal counting rules."While more people did live in New York City in 2000 than in 1990, a large share of the growth recorded by the 2000 Census - when the city reached 8 million for the first time - is due to the efforts of the Population Division of the Department of City Planning and its director Joseph Salvo," Beveridge wrote in the Gotham Gazette. "Indeed, perhaps half the growth can be attributed to their efforts to include formerly overlooked households in the census and make sure they were counted. Some of these households were never reached, so the data on them came from their neighbors, with the Census Bureau filling in some of the blanks," Beveridge said. "Now the Census Bureau headquarters in Washington is challenging the methods and approaches that led to New York City's surprising growth. In effect, it claims, some of the households counted do not actually exist." Beveridge said that for the 2000 count, the Census Bureau allowed local authorities in to examine and update the local address file and add the following types of housing units:New constructionConversions of buildings from non-residential to residential use.Garages made into residences.Attics or basements used as apartments.Subdividing that yields apartments."The city Planning Department counted both doorbells and mailboxes to try to assess the many different types of conversions that had taken place," Beveridge writes. "Many of these homes, of course, are illegal and do not have an official Certificate of Occupancy. Nonetheless, many people live in such apartments and should be counted," Beveridge wrote. "In 2000, the city Planning Department suggested the addition of 439,069 additional housing units," Beveridge wrote. "The Census Bureau eventually accepted about 370,000 of these residences, including about 86,000 after an appeal by the city." "The homes from the appeal alone would have added on the order of 200,000 New Yorkers to the census," Beveridge wrote. "Planning for the 2010 Census include a much more restrictive definition of what constitutes a household. Indeed, the Census staff suggests that if there is any question about how many units are in a given structure, they will consult with the property owner who, very likely, may have illegally divided it, to find out how many units are 'actually' in the building," Beveridge wrote. "Some landlords, of course, will be loathe to report their illegal units and will deny their existence. Furthermore, there seem to be plans to send only one form to each address, even though there are many instances where two households share a mailbox," Beveridge said."If these procedures are put into place, New York City could very well lose hundreds of thousands of population in the 2010 Census."Reach contributing writer Phil Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136 See AOL's top rated recipes and easy ways to stay in shape for winter.

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