The U.S. Census Bureau has agreed to add more than 8,000 people to its estimate of the city’s population on July 1, 2007. The new estimate puts the city population at 223,532 on that date.
The bureau initially estimated the city population as 215,348, prompting Mayor Allen Joines to challenge the estimate. Paul Norby, the city-county planning director, provided information on building permits, the population in annexed areas and other data that persuaded the bureau to revise its figure. In a letter to Joines dated Jan. 9 and received on Monday, Enrique Lamas, the chief of the bureau’s Population Division, said, “We will incorporate the results in the 2009 population estimate and we will post the revised estimate ….on the Census Bureau’s website.”
This challenge is not related to a challenge the city filed with the state Office of Budget and Management in 2007 over the state’s estimate of Winston-Salem’s population in September 2006 following annexation.
The federal revision could be helpful in determining federal distributions or grants based on population, Norby said. The revision also puts the city “higher on the radar screen” for companies, he said. “On the Census Bureau’s list of the largest cities, a population of 223,532 would move us from 91st on the list to 85th, right behind Orlando (Fla.) and Baton Rouge (La.).”
Norby noted that the latest state estimate puts the city population on July 1, 2007, at 224,889. “Of course, our own home-grown estimate for the date of annexation is 227,811. We still think we have more than either the state or feds think we have.”
With the next federal census scheduled to be taken in 2010, Joines said he will be appointing a Complete Count Committee to ensure that Winston-Salem residents are accurately counted. “Having accurate census figures is very important for our city and I will be working diligently on this issue.”