The first numbers from last year’s Census have come trickling out, and politicians are suggesting that the foundation of our democracy has been compromised. Elected officials are accusing the Census Bureau of undercounting New York City, especially Brooklyn: according to official statistics, Kings County grew in the last decade by a modest 1.6 percent—just more than 100,000 people. To many, this seems way too low—isn’t that just the number of people who moved into Williamsburg’s luxury waterfront condos?—especially to Marty Markowitz:
“In 2009, the Census Bureau estimated a 4.1 percent population growth for Brooklyn since 2000, yet the numbers released today claimed only a 1.6 percent increase,” he said, according to the Bed Stuy Patch. “It is inconceivable that Brooklyn—the hottest borough in which to live, work and play—grew only a small percentage in the past decade.”
Markowitz has suggested that Brooklyn’s Asian population went undercounted—seriously, I was in Chinatown this morning and there were so many Asians there!—as well as residents in predominantly African-American Central Brooklyn. In fact, the city’s black population decreased (by almost 50,000 residents) for the first time since Civil War times (says Patch), demographically replaced by Asians (up 75,000) and Hispanics (up 8,000), according to a handy chart concocted by The Local.
In response, the Census is basically telling people like Chuck Schumer—who said “the Census Bureau has never known how to count urban populations and needs to go back to the drawing board”—to shove it.
“Nationally the growth rate from 2000 was one of the lowest measured in the last century,” the Census’ associate director of communications told the Observer. “The pattern in New York City as like that seen in many other large cities—higher rates of growth in suburbs than in urban cores.”
But, but….it doesn’t feel that way!