May 15, 2024 - News

Detroit wants decision in population case against Census Bureau

Detroit from above Outer Drive.

Detroit from above Outer Drive. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

City attorneys are pushing for an end to Detroit's ongoing fight against the U.S. Census Bureau for alleged population undercounts.

Catch up fast: The city filed a motion last week for a judge to rule on at least part of its complaint in its lawsuit filed against the bureau in March.

  • City attorneys argue the Census Bureau treating the demolition of vacant residential structures as evidence of population loss for the purpose of estimating Detroit's population violates the Administrative Procedure Act.

The big picture: Census figures are used to determine federal funding, and increasing the city's tax base has been part of Mayor Mike Duggan's plans since he became mayor a decade ago when the population was recorded at more than 720,000 people.

  • The bureau counted 639,115 residents in 2020 and 620,376 in July 2022.

What they're saying: "In 2021 and 2022, the two years at issue here, the city demolished more than 4,000 uninhabitable, abandoned houses, improving the condition of neighborhoods and promoting growth," attorneys wrote in the motion.

  • "The Census Bureau, though, treated those 4,000 demolished buildings as if they were fully occupied homes and concluded that Detroit lost more than 8,000 residents because these vacant, uninhabitable buildings were knocked down."

What's next: Population estimates for 2023 are expected to be released this month.


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