Linn County Mayors Respond to US Census Results Showing Cities Are Shrinking | Cedar Rapids
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWL) — Walford and Alburnett are just two of the towns in Linn and Benton counties whose census numbers are a bit startling. The 2020 census results indicate that Walford’s population decreased by 97 and Alburnett increased by only 2.
The mayors of both cities say this does not accurately reflect their cities.
The city of Walford spans Linn and Benton counties. Its mayor, Bill Voss, says it’s the kind of small town where neighbors know each other and greet each other as they pass.
“I don’t think it’s fair for the simple fact that we don’t have an empty house in town. We don’t have an empty apartment in town. Everything is sold as soon as it comes on the market. I don’t understand why it’s down 97 people,” Voss said.
In the northern part of Linn County, Alburnett has grown since the last census. There is a new fire station, 20 new houses and 20 acres of land behind these houses which are already marked out for development. But US census data does not reflect this.
Bethany Sarazin is the Mayor of the Town of Alburnett.
“These numbers are only as good as the number of people able to respond to the survey. And given the situation in 2020, they couldn’t do that, the Census Bureau couldn’t do a lot of door-to-door and the campaign that they normally do. And so, it’s just a response rate issue at this point,” Sarazin said.
Like Voss, Sarazin says that when a home comes on the market in Alburnett, it sells out within days by word of mouth. The city is improving its overall plan to review its infrastructure to ensure it can support growth as it adds developments.
The two mayors say they haven’t seen any census workers — or have no knowledge of them — surveying their towns.
While they say the census numbers won’t affect their tax base significantly, they say they don’t accurately represent the populations or growth of their communities.
While several towns in Linn County have seen their populations decline, North Liberty in Johnson County has seen the fastest population growth in Iowa between 2010 and 2020.
RELATED: North Liberty has the fastest population growth above 5,000 in Iowa