Detroit sues U.S. Census Bureau, says 2021 population estimate is 'divorced from reality'

Posted at 12:09 PM, Sep 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-20 18:14:09-04

(WXYZ) — The City of Detroit said it is suing the U.S. Census Bureau, alleging that the bureau miscounted the city's 2021 population estimate.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the lawsuit in a press conference on Tuesday, saying this is the "next chapter in an effort to get the Census Bureau to actually count the people living in the City of Detroit."

According to Duggan, they aren't challenging the 2020 Census, but are challenging the annual estimates, which he said federal funding is actually based on. Every year, the bureau releases the Populations Estimates Program (PEP) which "utilizes current data on births, deaths, and migration to calculate population change since the most recent decennial census and produce a time series of estimates of population, demographic components of change, and housing units," according to the bureau's website.

Duggan said the city was shocked that in the 2021 estimate for Detroit, the bureau said the city lost 7,100 people.

He accused the bureau of undercounting minorities, and said director admitted to undercounting the African American population by about 3% and Hispanic population by 5%.

"This just defies reality when there are crains all over this city," Duggan said. "In the one-year period in 2021, 14 new major apartment buildings with 1,000 units opened during that time. My question is, how could anybody conclude we lost 7,000 people in one year?

Duggan said the city was allowed to challenge the one-year estimate, and the bureau would give the city the formula used to come up with the population estimate. But, Duggan said, they won't give the formula.

"We have absolutely no idea what formula they could have possibly used to say Detroit lost 7,000 people in the last year," Duggan said.

He then listed evidence the city had, which included DTE Energy saying they added 7,544 more households in the city for gas and electric service, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department said they added 6,954 housing units, and the U.S. Postal Service said they added 4,475 more residences delivering mail.

"The bottom line is this. It’s now clear that the data coming out of the U.S. Census Bureau is completely divorced from reality, and we intend to prove that," he said.

  Detroit Census Federal Lawsuit by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd