Polk County disputes 2020 census results

Published 3:13 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2023

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Federal funding for county residents at stake

POLK COUNTY-The Board of Commissioners will appeal the 2020 Polk County census count, which has a major impact on federal funding for Polk County and its residents.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 census indicated that since the last 2010 census, Polk Co. showed a decrease in population of 1,192 and a decrease of 664 housing units. 

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In response, Polk officials checked every address that was on record as of April 1, 2020, comparing them to the housing unit total counts that the census provided. The census ultimately had a difference of 524 housing units from Polk’s count. 

This led Planning/Economic Director Cathy Ruth to suspect some sort of discrepancy.

“We expected the population to stay the same or increase,” said Ruth. “Average household is a little over two per house, and we have had an increase in single-family residential permits.”

Polk officials hope to correct the housing unit count and population by submitting an appeal to the 2020 Census Count Question Resolution Operation, which “gives tribal, state and local governmental units the opportunity to request that the Census Bureau review their boundaries and/or housing counts to identify errors that may have occurred while processing their 2020 Census counts.” Over sixty other communities have reached out to the operation so far.

The appeal must be formally submitted to the 2020 Census Count Question Resolution Operation by June 30 of this year.