Census Reports It Has Reached Almost All Households

By New York Times, New York Times - June 23, 2010

As of Tuesday, 98 percent of the 47 million households that had failed to return their census questionnaires had been contacted by a census worker.

Metropolitan New York was among the regions with the lowest completion rates, with 94 percent of questionnaires turned in; an area in Mississippi was the least complete local census office, with about 88 percent, Robert M. Groves, the Census Bureau director, said in an interview.

Despite fears of hostility toward the federal government, incidents involving census workers have been relatively few. Since April, in the course of knocking on 47 million doors an average of two times, the bureau has logged 430 on-the-job incidents against enumerators, including 13 cases where shots were fired (one man was killed in Baltimore) and 139 cases where a weapon was pulled. Ten workers were robbed, one was bitten by a duck and another by a rooster.

“I don’t see a pattern,” Mr. Groves said. “The assaults are not all ideological, but there is a group where the respondents articulated a hatred of the federal government.”

Presaging 2010 census results, Texas accounted for much of the nation’s urban growth in the year ending July 1, 2009, according to census data released Tuesday.

Four Texas cities — San Antonio, Fort Worth, Houston and Austin — were among the nine cities in the nation with the biggest numerical gains in population during the year beginning July 1, 2008. Over the period since 2005, Houston has led every other American city in growth and, with three other Texas cities, accounted for four of the six cities in the country with the greatest population gains.

Frisco, Tex., north of Dallas, grew by 6.2 percent to 102,000 since 2008, the fastest rate of any city with more than 100,000 people in the country. Since the start of the decade, Frisco expanded from 33,000 people, an average annual growth rate of 204 percent, also the nation’s highest.

“The rise of Texas cities can be attributed to their relative immunity to the housing bubble burst and later recession that plagued other parts of the Sun Belt, the continued draw of immigrants and their mix of both new and old economy industries,” said William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer.

Detroit continued its decline, but by fewer than 2,000 to 910,920 since the year before, compared with 951,000 when the decade began, holding up better than some had expected.

New Orleans continued its comeback, growing by more than 18,000 in a single year to nearly 355,000, but still well below its nearly 455,000 before the city was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Most of the fastest-growing cities were in Texas, North Carolina, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona, although the recession appeared to have dampened the pace of that growth. Traditional magnets for retirees and job-seekers lost some of their attraction.

Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo registered declines, but Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Indianapolis; Columbus, Ohio; Boston; and Washington recorded gains. New York City grew by 45,000 people to 8,391,881, a growth rate of only 0.5 percent, but the largest one-year numerical gain of any city in the country.

Chicago recorded its highest growth rate this decade as did Denver, Seattle and Washington.

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