News From Harlingen, Texas
Census Counts are Important Make Sure You Get Counted in 2020
10/21/2019

 

The City of Harlingen, like the rest of the Rio Grande Valley, has been consistent over the years in questioning the accuracy of the census counts. We know our population growth has been greater than the numbers reflected in the census information.  In 2010, the State of Texas Demographer listed our population at 64,849.  In July 2018, that number grew to 68,241, an increase of 5.2% since 2010.  In September of 2019, that number grew again to 68,328 reflecting an increase of 5.4% since 2010.  These numbers can be found on the state website and reflect growth in Harlingen that we expect will increase significantly once we have accurate counts in the upcoming 2020 census.  See the state website:  

https://demographics.texas.gov/Resources/TPEPP/Estimates/2018/preliminary_2018_txpopest_place.pdft.
  

 

The US Census Bureau reflects the City of Harlingen’s population in 2010 at 64,912 and 65,436 in 2018.  This would indicate that over an 8 year span the City grew by 524 people.  This is inaccurate information and does not reflect growth and activity in our city. Think back to 2010 and compare the traffic, student population in our schools, activity, and number of customers shopping at our grocery stores, department stores.  If only 524 people were added to our population, why have we had to build additional schools?  Where did all this traffic and activity come from?  

 

 

The Census population figures do not represent the number of people in our community, it represents the number of people that responded to the census questionnaire.  This is why it is critical that everyone responds to the upcoming 2020 census.  There is a 2.95% formula multiplier that is used at the state and federal level to update count information by household year over year.  This information can be found at census.gov (fact finder). 

 

 

Going back to the 2018 US Census counts for Harlingen at 65,436– let’s compare that to empirical data collected by the city.  Supporting data received from AEP Texas indicates that there are 32,637 active residential meters within the city as of 2018.  If we use the multiplier utilized by the state and federal government it would place our population at 96,279.  This multiplier was developed by the state and federal agencies to reflect the counts per household year over year. Think about it, how many times have you visited a friend or family member that had less that 2 people living in their home?

 

 

Let’s compare 911 data to the same multiplier used by these agencies.  The supporting data received from our 911 system indicate that there are 32,063 households which, includes apartments, duplexes and housing units in the City of Harlingen.  If we apply the same multiplier to this figure we get population counts of 94,596.

 

 

Using the same multipliers for the AEP and 911 supporting data, the population counts are strikingly similar. So why doesn’t the US Census reflect what the AEP and 911 numbers are stating? Because the Census Bureau provides only the numbers of the people that responded to the census. The 2020 census counts are going to be extremely challenging since for the first time in census history, the census will be filled out electronically.  There will be paper ballots mailed out, but that will be for those individuals that did not respond to the electronic format questionnaire.

 

 

Our City has grown considerably more that the census would have you believe.  From 2010 to 2019, the city has issued 1,418 building permits for single family residents and 55 building permits for apartment units.   This is more evidence indicating that our growth has been substantially higher than the number reflected in the Census information.  

 

 

We must all do our part and make sure everyone responds to the upcoming 2020 census, it is important not just for the City, but for our schools, hospitals, VA, and for the citizens of Harlingen yet to be born.  Remember getting counted is important and has a direct impact on funding resources for our community to improve infrastructure and quality of life.   So, let's all work together to make sure everyone is counted in 2020.   

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