Thursday, March 29, 2012

Urbanized Areas Released by Census Bureau for 2010 Census

Every decennial census, the Census Bureau releases reconfigured maps showing the new urban areas across the country. Urban areas, and especially urbanized areas which are a subset of the urban area, are especially important to local and regional governments since a HUGE amount of federal funding is based on this designation. Many federal resources have an urban component geared toward basing its funding awards on the size of the urbanized area being served. This is especially true of many highway and traffic safety programs.

In the Census 2000, the Herkimer Oneida Counties region lost two major parts of its "urbanized area" due to changes in the definitions at that time. Rome got excluded from the urbanized area and was re-categorized as an "urban cluster", while the main swath of villages in the valley in Herkimer County were eliminated from either category. While they remained "urban" they were deemed neither part of the "urbanized area" or part of any "urban cluster".

This exclusion of population from the region's urbanized area resulted in considerable loss of federal aid that otherwise would have been available. Simply put, fewer people in the redefined urbanized area resulted in access to less funding.

For the Census 2010, the main concepts of the "urbanized area" definitions in the Census 2000 were kept, with a few tweaks added. The result for our region is a similar looking urbanized area - one that shows a slight increase of roughly 4,000 people over the population found inside of its boundaries during the Census 2000.

Below, then, are three maps worth looking at - the NEW urbanized areas and clusters for 2010, the OLD urbanized areas and clusters from 2000, and a map showing the old areas imposed on top of the new ones for comparison sake.

2010 Urban Areas 2000 Urban Areas 2010 and 2000 Comparison