U.S. Census mistake "misplaces" Richmond residents

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email | facebook
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond city leaders are scratching their heads over the numbers given to them by the U.S. Census Bureau. The federal government misplaced nearly 3,000 city residents.

The total population is correct, but under this census snafu, thousands of city residents, as of now, are "homeless."

It started last week, when the city of Norfolk discovered the U.S. Census put 19,000 Navy sailors from a battleship in the middle of a neighborhood.

Folks behind the scenes at Richmond City Hall took a look at their numbers and noticed, the simple math from the U.S. Census just doesn't add up in some Richmond neighborhoods.

Apparently 354 folks call the VCU parking deck at Broad and Harrison streets home.

And then there's the City Jail. We couldn't find any homes but apparently the census says 1,476 people thought it would be a good idea to move next door on a grassy lot. Also, 72 people allegedly live in the median in the center of Monument Avenue.

"Sounds like the Census Bureau to me," said Erik Halvorson. He walks his dog along Monument Avenue every day and he has yet to find a home on the median.

"It's ridiculous. I get a kick out of government-gone-wrong stories and, um, I'll put this one in my hip pocket and keep it with me. It's pretty good," he said.

In all 2,755 people living in homes in the city were counted but misplaced.

"You've got to get these 3,000 people houses here," said Councilman Marty Jewell with a laugh.  "At the right address and in the right district, that will be simple enough to do."

Councilman Jewell is on the city's redistricting committee. He finds humor in government's mistake, but says it's important for the city to make sure the numbers are right.

"If you believe in one man one vote you need to know that each of the nine districts are fairly evenly populated," he said.

Folks at city hall are working to figure out the government's mistakes, so redistricting can began before the summer.

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