Mayor Michael Bloomberg challenged the 2010 census results for New York City Wednesday, telling officials in Washington that the city believes "tens of thousands" of residents were not counted.
The 2010 census tallied the city's population at 8,175,133, an increase of 2.1 percent from the 8,008,278 counted in 2000. The 2010 result surprised City Hall as being unexpectedly low.
In a letter to Robert Groves, director of the U.S. Census Bureau, Bloomberg said the city based its challenge on the large number of housing units in certain parts of Brooklyn and Queens mistakenly classified as vacant. "It is our expectation alone that the City's population could increase by tens of thousands of New Yorkers if the errors from those two Census (areas) alone were corrected," wrote Bloomberg, indicating that other parts of the city might have been undercounted as well.
Joseph Salvo, director of the population division for the Department of City Planning, previously estimated the city's population at closer to 8.3 million.
In his letter to Groves, Bloomberg acknowledged that while any increase in the population count wouldn't impact congressional reapportionment, the count would change baseline estimates used to determine the city's aid from Washington.
City demographers focused on two areas within Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, as well as within Astoria and Jackson Heights in Queens. An examination of foreclosure information, real-estate values, new construction permits, certificates of occupancy and earlier housing vacancy studies indicate there was an excessive number of vacant units reported in the last census, the city said.In a 2008 city study of vacancies, 227,097 units were unoccupied, but the 2010 Census found more than 34,000 additional vacancies. City officials said they expected the Census Bureau to have a response in about two months. Agency officials couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.