Monday, December 25, 2000

Ky. population: 4 million plus?


Probably, but census may not reflect mark

The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — Kentucky's population has recently passed 4 million, according to estimates and the state's growth rate over the last decade.

        But that figure might not show up this week when the U.S. Census Bureau releases the first round of population numbers from the 2000 census.

        Recent population esti mates coupled with Kentucky's growth rate in the 1990s suggest that the state's population probably topped 4 million in October, said Ron Crouch, director of the Kentucky State Data Center at the University of Louisville.

        But the census stopped counting last spring. That means the population figures to be released next week might show the Bluegrass State just below 4 million.

        “It could be the 2000 census will put us there at 4 million,” Mr. Crouch said. “It could put us just shy. But at some point in 2000, we probably already passed 4 million.”

        For state, city and county governments, there's plenty riding on the national head count — from millions of dollars in federal grants to the size and location of state and federal legislative districts for the next 10 years.

        Over the next two years, the Census Bureau will release all manner of data from its 2000 count. And, like in 1990, the counts could arrive with some controversy.

        “We're always concerned about the accuracy of the count,” said Wes Nakajima, a senior planner for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government.

        If some of Kentucky's growth was under-counted, that may affect such fast growing parts of Northern Kentucky as Boone County.

        The census “is a snapshot in time,” said Mark Schenthal, a spokesman for the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “It's unfortunate they did it in spring.”

        Lexington challenged the 1990 tally and the city's numbers were adjusted slightly upward.

        This week's count will bring some good news for Kentucky.

        Ten years ago, population counts showed Kentucky had grown so sluggishly in the 1980s, compared with other states, that it lost one of its seven seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The most recent census estimates for Kentucky put the state's population in 1999 at 3,960,825, an increase of 7.4 percent since the decade began, just below the national growth rate of about 9.6 percent, Mr. Crouch said.

       



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