Douglas County still is growing after all, according to a revised population estimate just issued by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In a letter sent to County Administrator Craig Weinaug, the Census Bureau says it now estimates the county's population as of July 1, 2005, to be 111,519. That is nearly 9,000 people more than the estimate of 102,914 for 2005 issued a few months ago.
"It's great news," County Commissioner Charles Jones said. "We appreciate the responsiveness of the (U.S.) Department of Commerce."
In September, Douglas County and the city of Lawrence filed an informal challenge with the bureau over the earlier estimates. At that time, the population estimate for Lawrence was 81,816. The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department's own estimate for Lawrence was 88,664.
The Census Bureau's new county population estimate was not broken down by cities and rural areas. Further county characteristics and revisions will be listed with estimates for 2006 to be issued next year, said Jonathan Takeuchi of the Census Bureau.
But Lawrence City Manager Dave Corliss said it was his understanding the Census Bureau will send a letter with a response to the city's challenge in a few days. Since the Census Bureau now shows the county's population has increased, a major portion of that increase is expected to be in Lawrence, Corliss said.
The Census Bureau's revised estimate was based on housing data provided by the county, such as building and mobile home permits and demolition of structures, Takeuchi said. Also considered were persons per household and delayed occupancy rates, he said. Kansas University students were counted, based on where they live during most of the year, Takeuchi said.
The Census Bureau's methodology differs in that it primarily uses population records, such as births, deaths and migration rates, Takeuchi said.
"It's just a different methodology," he said. "Administrative records data fit most counties very well, but in some cases the housing unit method may give a different estimate."
The population estimates are important because some state and federal funding appropriations are based on them, including community development block grants, transit systems and highways.
City planners will constantly be reviewing their population estimate methodology with the Census Bureau, Corliss said. And planning for growth is continuing, he said.
"We're not just simply hanging by the mailbox waiting for the federal government to tell us we are growing," he said. "We are going to continue to look at strong, wise growth policies for the community."
Explore population trends in census data for Lawrence and other Kansas cities from 1900 to 2005. Go Â»