South Strabane Eyes Attractive Census Data | Local News
South Strabane Township officials believe some of the 2020 census data is inaccurate and are considering an appeal.
Township Manager Brandon Stanick pointed to two metrics they were concerned about: population and retail sales numbers.
According to data available on census.gov, since 2010 the population of South Strabane has increased by 267 people, to 9,613, an increase of approximately 2.8%.
Stanick said with several residential developments having been built in South Strabane over the past decade, the increase appears small.
“The township was expected to have grown by more than the 267 people portrayed by the census,” Stanick said.
Township officials will review a decade of residential occupancy and building permits as they consider whether or not to go through the appeals process, according to Stanick.
“What we want to do is understand what our data is showing us and see if there’s a discrepancy,” Stanick said.
According to Stanick, federal and state funding is tied to population numbers.
“Population numbers are important for several reasons, not just for representation in Congress, but also for any kind of future funding,” Stanick said.
He added that accurate numbers also help officials determine how best to serve their residents.
“The picture the census numbers paint needs to be clear so we know how to allocate and dedicate resources to adapt to changes in the township,” Stanick said.
Census data also provides insight into retail sales in municipalities. South Strabane comes in at just under $175 million, while North Strabane had nearly $190 million. In Washington, it was over $651 million.
According to the census website, the retail sales figures quoted are from the 2012 economic census.
“It’s not consistent with South Strabane being the main shopping center in the county,” Stanick said. “We are the largest retail and shopping district in the county.”
Stanick suspects the Census Bureau of using ZIP codes to determine these statistics. The 15301 zip code includes all of Washington and part of South Strabane.
“I think it plays a role,” Stanick said.
Whether South Strabane decides to go ahead with the appeal depends on whether they feel they can present a case to the Census Bureau.
“We’ll have to substantiate it with the data we have,” Stanick said.