As local governments deploy a variety of efforts to secure successful results for the 2020 census, Maryville is assessing new data that shows nearly 730 city addresses have been added to national databases with more to follow.
During a November work session, Geographic Information Systems Manager Ray Boswell announced the results of a recent Local Update of Census Addresses, which he termed “LUCA” in a presentation.
“What the Census Bureau is trying to do was to make certain that they engage local communities because we’re the ones with basically the authoritative address information,” Boswell said, explaining this helps the bureau check national-level databases against local ones.
This is the third time the U.S. Census Bureau has given localities a chance to participate in LUCA, Boswell said: The other two took place in 2000 and 2010. For 2020, Boswell said he and others also have collected data for Maryville and Alcoa.
What were the results for Maryville?
Feedback the bureau gave back to Boswell and others working on the address research found that, of 840 submitted addresses, the Census Bureau has given the thumbs up to 729 of them.
Add this to the 13,150 addresses they currently have on file — according to Boswell — and Maryville has a verified total of 13,879 that will be counted in 2020.
Just more than 100 submitted addresses were rejected, however. Boswell said they’ve appealed more than 50, passing along data that will potentially justify having them included in the update.
But the LUCA team went one step further.
Boswell said he worked with planning staff to identify yet another 85 new construction addresses based on projects that are underway.
“We knew there was development that was happening,” Boswell told officials. “So ... we aired on the side of caution.” Caution meant providing more information to the bureau than it really needed, including addresses that didn’t actually have buildings on them, but were planned for development, he said.
“Because of the ... planning process, the plat had been approved and construction was going on and we knew that development was going to occur, (so) I would rather give them more information and them tell us that it wasn’t a valid address, than for us to potentially miss out on something,” he explained.
Even then, Boswell indicated to officials there was even more recent construction underway that could not be submitted simply because of timing, including hundreds of apartment units.
Maryville is a growing city that has seen an uptick in development since the last 10-year census.
Reports from the Census Bureau show that, from 2010 to 2017, population percentage increases of 4.9% are close to a national average of 5.5%. Blount’s growth, by comparison, is exactly the same as that U.S. average, also 5.5%.
Census data also shows the media household income is just over $56,000, nearly $7,500 more than the Tennessee average.
Maryville’s 2035 land-use plan put out in 2014 shows that, in 15 years from now, 55% of the city may be used for residences. In 2014, only 49% of the city’s land was used for residences.
New census numbers are expected by spring 2021 and field work already has started, though the officials have raised concerns about having enough workers to complete the count.
Officials forms will be sent out April 1.
“We really want to keep this on everybody’s mind,” Maryville City Manager Greg McClain said to gathered city officials before Boswell’s presentation.
Boswell and City Council members agreed. The census has been a point of discussion for the past two work sessions.
“There’s a lot of moving pieces with the census right now, “ Boswell said. “(LUCA) is our only opportunity to be able to work with the Census Bureau to make sure that what they have is as accurate as possible.”
Accuracy is key for cities across the U.S. A single uncounted resident could mean more than $1,000 in revenue lost for local governments, according to the George Washington Institute of Public Policy.