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Mayor Bloomberg Submits City's Formal Challenge To 2010 Census Results

August 10, 2011

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today unveiled New York City’s formal challenge to the results of the 2010 U.S. Census, citing the large number of housing units mistakenly classified as vacant by the Census Bureau in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst neighborhoods and Queens’ Astoria and Jackson Heights neighborhoods – which are among the most vibrant areas in New York City. While adjustments to the city’s population will not affect Congressional reapportionment or local redistricting, changes would be incorporated into the baseline annual Federal estimates of the city’s population that shape how much money New York City receives through Federal aid programs.

The letter the Mayor sent yesterday to Dr. Robert Groves, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, is below. To see the City’s full submission to the U.S. Census Bureau, visit

August 9, 2011

Dr. Robert Groves
U.S. Census Bureau
Washington, D.C. 20233

Dear Dr. Groves:

Enclosed is New York City’s initial submission under the Census Bureau’s Count Question Resolution program.

As we discussed in our telephone conversation earlier in the year, I recognize that enumerating the population of New York City is a herculean and unenviable challenge, given the city’s large, diverse and dense population, which lives primarily in difficult to count housing arrangements. The Department of City Planning and the NYC 2010 Census Office, has worked closely with the Census Bureau and established a very productive partnership. We view this submission as an extension of our partnership and I appreciate your commitment to thoroughly investigate the issues we have documented in the 2010 census count. 

While we believe errors occurred in the enumeration of neighborhoods throughout the city, our supporting documents focus on two specific areas where these errors were concentrated. The Bureau’s enumeration erroneously classified large numbers of housing units as vacant within two Local Census Office boundaries: Local Census Office 2227, which counted Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, and Local Census Office 2235, which counted Astoria and Jackson Heights in Queens. Numerous data sources cited in our submission refute the prevalence of widespread vacant housing units in those areas, which are and continue to be among our most stable, growing and vibrant neighborhoods. This disproportionate concentration of vacancy suggests that some aspect of the census enumeration went awry in these two offices, with likely processing errors that may have hindered the proper reporting, compilation, and tabulation of census results. As such, we believe the Count Question Resolution program is an appropriate mechanism to investigate the problems documented in this submission and to take corrective action regarding New York City’s 2010 final count. It should also serve to inform more effective and collaborative census practices going forward.

It is our expectation that the City’s population could increase by tens of thousands of New Yorkers if the errors from those two Census offices alone were corrected. We will continue to work with you to address the other areas of error throughout the rest of the city, but today we are providing detailed data about the two specific areas where we believe the most significant errors occurred.

Please direct any communications regarding our submission to the City’s chief demographer, Joseph Salvo as provided in our application. I look forward to hearing from the Bureau following your consideration of our application.



Michael R. Bloomberg
New York City

Stu Loeser / Marc La Vorgna

(212) 788-2958