Milwaukee makes formal challenge against 2020 census count

NOW: Milwaukee makes formal challenge against 2020 census count

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --- Milwaukee officials are formally challenging the 2020 U.S. Census tally, which found that the city lost nearly 3% of its population in the last 10 years. Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson says that's simply not true.

The 2020 U.S. Census Bureau results were released in August of 2021 and found that Milwaukee's population dropped to 577,222, meaning the city lost more than 15,000 residents since 2010. That would be the lowest population since the 1930s.

Tuesday morning, Mayor Johnson signed an official document challenging the census data.

"We believe that Milwaukee's population was stable at about 594,000...actually more than that," said Johnson.

City officials say they carefully analyzed housing data using information from the U.S Postal Service and believe the Census Bureau undercounted housing units by more than 2,000 and mistakenly overcounted vacant properties by more than 4,000.

They also say about 700 people in the Milwaukee County Jail were mistakenly counted as being in custody at the county House of Correction in Franklin.

"It really hurts us to be undercounted in the largest city in the great state of Wisconsin," said District 8 Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa.

Officials estimate the undercount could result in a loss of more than $7 million in federal funding for the city, and more than $14 million for schools.

They say in all, the undercount primarily occurred in communities of color, specifically Black and Latinos, an issue impacting cities nationwide.

"To say that we have lost population means less resources coming into the communities, frankly, that are the most underrepresented and needs to be lifted up the most," said Zamarripa.

Officials say the census takes up these matters on a first come, first served basis, so the timeline for when this issue could be resolved is fluid, but Mayor Johnson says he's confident that the challenge will be successful.

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