Earlier Census estimates indicated the city should have more residents. From the news release:
Although pleased that Joplin was noted as the fastest growing metro city in Southwest Missouri, City officials are expressing concern about the initial announcement of Joplin’s population by the U.S. Census Bureau. The estimates of total population that the Bureau provided for Joplin in July 2009 exceeded the population number that they recently published.
“We have been studying our City’s growth for the past few years, as well as closely watching the annual population estimates released by the Census, in anticipation of the 2010 numbers being announced,” said City Manager Mark Rohr. “We were pleased that our growth is up, but according to their annual reports, and our own historical trend analyses of Joplin’s increased numbers, the Census’ final numbers are lower than we anticipated. Because of this, we will examine the prospect of using the challenge process set forth by the Census.”
According to the Census Bureau’s Annual estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Missouri, Joplin’s population was noted as 50,208 for July 1, 2009, which projects out to an annual percentage rate of 1.07%, and brings the population total to 50,743. The 2010 Census states that Joplin’s population is 50,150.
“Although some may say there is just a small discrepancy, it is the City’s role to interpret these numbers in order to maximize the benefits to our citizens,” said Rohr. “The numbers can be critical for cities to receive the appropriate recognition of its size for many reasons, including assistance programs, economic development opportunities and educational programs, all of which benefit our citizens.”
Census numbers are used for calculating funding levels for various community programs and services offered in Joplin, including financial assistance programs for housing and utility payments, as well as meal assistance programs offered to students in local schools. The data is also important in determining funding and locations for housing, child-care centers, shopping centers, roads and more. These improvements can have a significant impact on the lives of everyone in the community.
According to the 2010 Census, Joplin experienced a growth rate of 10.2 percent, almost double the growth rate in Springfield. Their report stated Joplin’s population grew from 45,504 in 2000 to 50,150 in 2010.
“We are also pleased to see that the percentage of growth for Joplin in 2006 through 2009 is nearly twice as much than the pace of growth earlier in the decade,” he said.
Rohr noted that he and Troy Bolander, Planning and Community Development Manager for the City, will continue the review process to determine whether it would be prudent to challenge the 2010 Census count for Joplin.
Bolander concurs with Rohr’s assessment of the figures and said, “In past years, the Census Bureau has offered cities an opportunity to contest the figures. In this case, it might benefit the City to do so, but we still need to do a complete review in order to make that determination.”
“This is a very important decision,” said Rohr. “This information doesn’t just affect us today, but it impacts the City for the next ten years. It is critical for Joplin to be positioned for development and improvements not only today, as we’ve seen throughout the community, but also for the future in order to benefit our families and future generations. ”