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Latest numbers show Milwaukee population shrinking, the city doesn't buy it

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - Milwaukee’s population is shrinking, at least according to the latest census estimate.

It shows the city has been losing residents for the past four years while cities like Madison have seen a 10% jump.

But not everyone is convinced those numbers are accurate.

“The population estimates are sometimes off,” said Department of Administration Director Sharon Robinson.

She oversees the census in the City of Milwaukee and says the latest estimate sounds low.

“We’ve always been historically under counted,” said Robinson.

The latest numbers are just an estimate.  The official census is done every 10 years, with the next one scheduled for next year.

The latest numbers are part of an estimate sent out every year.  Robinson points out that on more than one occasion in the past, they’ve been wrong.  Like in 2007.

“We actually challenged the census bureau estimates because we thought those numbers were off, and the population was actually adjusted upward about 30,000 people,” said Robinson.

Realtors like Dana Karow don’t believe the number either.

“I’m laughing because I don’t believe it,” said Karow.

She says if anything it’s the exact opposite, more people are looking to move into the city than they have places to put them.

“I’m seeing multiple offers on properties, I’m actually having properties that aren’t even listed but I already have buyers for,” said Karow.

Judging by the market, she doesn’t see that changing anytime soon.

“I see crane booms in the sky and lots of construction,” she said.

The estimate shows a drop of 2,808 residents, which might not sound like a lot, but it could be alarming considering the double-digit percentage increase in similar sized cities across the country like Seattle and Denver.

Robinson says when the official count is done in 2020, she wouldn’t be surprised to see an increase here too.

“I’m pretty optimistic that we will probably come closer to that 600,000 population estimate that was released a few years ago.

The 2020 census will happen in the spring of next year.

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