Population rises again

Published 1:02 am Saturday, October 22, 2011

Even before the redistricting process stemming from the census is complete, new population estimates are out that push the number of city residents even closer to 85,000.

The American Community Survey, the yearly long-form version of the decennial census, estimates that the city’s population was 84,906 at the end of 2010.

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That’s a rise of .38 percent from the number reported by the U.S. Census as of April 1, 2010.

The census determined that 84,585 people lived in Suffolk in April 2010. That was nearly a 33-percent increase from the 2000 census.

For the past six months, city leaders have been working on completing redistricting plans to equalize the numbers of people in each of the city’s seven boroughs.

Earlier this month, City Council voted 7-1 to approve a redistricting plan that draws Councilman Leroy Bennett out of his district. He was the lone dissenter on the vote.

The plan also ousts two School Board members, Thelma Hinton and Diane Foster.

The drastic move was necessitated, city leaders say, by the astronomic growth in the last 10 years, which was centered in the northeast quadrant of the city. But other groups presented maps that keep all incumbents in their boroughs.

The city still is working on drawing voting precinct boundaries and choosing polling places. Another public hearing will be held Nov. 2 on the full plan, after which it will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice for preclearance.

At least two of the affected candidates, as well as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, are working on their own packages to submit to the Justice Department in opposition to the city’s plan.