Davenport city planners think they’ve found the missing residents who can push the city’s 2010 U.S. Census population over 100,000, after falling just short in the official count.
The city has filed an appeal of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 count of 99,685, arguing that more than 277 apartments in the extensive Kimberly Club complex on East Kimberly Road were missed. Staff members looked at data that involved group quarters, such as apartment complexes, nursing homes and dormitories.
“It was kind of like looking for a needle in a haystack,” senior planner Matt Flynn said. “If it was an apartment here and a nursing home there, we wouldn’t appeal. But when we got to Kimberly Club apartments, it only showed with 81 dwelling quarters.”
The city shows 358 apartments in the complex. The general rule of thumb, Flynn said, is an average of 1.5 people per apartment, so that would add 415 residents to the count.
Along with a letter noting the discrepancy, signed by Mayor Bill Gluba, the city included a spreadsheet accounting for all of the Kimberly Club apartments for what the Census Bureau calls a “count resolution question challenge.”
For Gluba, it is important to get the count correct for a number of reasons.
“The good news is an increase in population is always considered a sign of a community’s vitality,” he said. “That Davenport is headed in the right direction is a symbolic plus for the community.”
The milestone also makes the city
eligible for different types of state and federal funding. Gluba pointed to an increase in community development block grant funding based on population. Also, it might make the city more attractive for companies looking to expand.
“Over time, it impacts the amount of federal funding allocated to communities,” Gluba said. “Decisions made at the federal and state level are related to the population and that would help us obtain more funds for projects in the future.”
Alderman Jeff Justin, 6th Ward, didn’t know his ward had the questionable count but hoped the matter would be resolved in the city’s favor.
“It would be nice for us to meet that milestone,” he said.
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There is no cost to the appeal, and Flynn expects a fairly quick response.
Davenport’s challenge is one of 174 from across the country being considered by the Census Bureau and one of 10 from Iowa.
Challenging a population county requires a city or county to provide some justification and documentation, Flynn said.
“Most appeals are based on boundary challenges,” he said. “They are often in metropolitan areas with gerrymandered boundaries where subdivisions are counted in wrong municipalities.”
Gluba thinks the previous census estimates have shown just what the city wanted: slow, steady growth. He knows one area of the city where that will continue.
“Downtown Davenport is the fastest growing address in the Quad-Cities,” he said.