Column: Connecting some annexation dots with Bloomington’s 2020 Census data

A week ago, the US Census released the data from its 2020 decennial count.

The image links to the original .jpg file which has a higher resolution that what is shown on the screen. Here’s a link to a .pdf with a vector graphic version of the map, which includes all of Monroe County: 2020 Census Monroe County dot map

Locally, the immediate focus was on Bloomington’s count of 79,168—which came in lower than had been estimated. It was lower even than the 2010 count of 80,405.

A fair amount of effort has already gone into trying to understand why the US Census Bureau’s actual count put Bloomington’s population lower than the same agency’s most recent estimates.

Not receiving as much attention has been the potential utility of the fresh census numbers for Bloomington’s current plans to add territory to the city.

The 2020 Census count outside Bloomington has not been subject to the same kind of skepticism as the area inside the city.

So the population of the proposed annexation areas, as measured by the 2020 Census, could factor into upcoming Bloomington city council deliberations, unimpeded by doubts about accuracy.

Of course, population density (at least 3 people per acre) is just one of the statutory considerations in Indiana’s annexation laws.

Another statutory consideration includes how much of the proposed annexation areas is subdivided or is parceled through separate ownerships into lots or parcels. A third factor mentioned in the state statute is whether the territory is zoned for commercial, business, or industrial uses.

Still, the fresh, fine-grained geographic detail of the census data released last Thursday seems like information that should be incorporated into the Bloomington city council’s deliberative process. Mid-September votes are currently contemplated on each of the eight proposed annexation areas. Continue reading “Column: Connecting some annexation dots with Bloomington’s 2020 Census data”