Hard-to-Count Urban Housing: Efforts to Ensure an Accurate Census in New York City

Authors: Stephen Wolkwitz*, City of New York -Dept. of City Planning, & City University of New York -Hunter College
Topics: Population Geography, Political Geography, United States
Keywords: New York City, US Census, census, housing units, population, demography, political geography, representation, urban housing
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: Download



Political representation, funding, and reliable data are all at stake in the 2020 US census. New York City is a participant in the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program, which allows state and local governments to provide address information directly to the US Census Bureau, ensuring that fewer housing units get overlooked in the decennial count. In an urban area such as New York City, subdivided apartment units including basement apartments, attics, converted garages, interior renovations, and recently constructed units are often missed by the Census Bureau. The resulting undercount of population adversely affects political representation at every level, in addition to negatively impacting population-based government funding, planning, and data. In this poster I will use maps and other figures to highlight where & how New York City added significant numbers of housing units to the Census Bureau’s address list in 2000; housing that would have otherwise been left out of the count. I will also show how operational errors adversely impacted New York’s 2010 population count, and how the city is preparing for the upcoming 2020 census by targeting areas most likely to be undercounted.

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