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Goessel, Burns, Marion buck census trend

Staff writer

Goessel, Burns, and Marion seem to have bucked the trend for declining population in Marion County.

The Census Bureau has not yet listed 2020 population figures by municipality for communities of less than 5,000 people.

However, it has released data arranged by geo-location and geographic boundary that state partner organizations have used to calculate what can be regarded as authoritative, if not final, census data for municipalities of fewer than 5,000 residents.

Those data reveal that just two Marion County municipalities grew between 2010 and 2020 — Goessel by 3.2% to 556 residents and Burns by 2.6% to 234 residents.

Marion’s population is essentially unchanged, down 0.3% to 1,922, but within the statistical margin of error for being the same as it was 10 years ago, according to Xan Wedel, a senior research data engineer at the University of Kansas Institute for Policy and Social Research.

The institute is the state partner for the Census Bureau in Kansas.

Every other municipality in the county declined sharply.

City 2020 Change

Goessel 556 +3.2%

Burns 234 +2.6%

Marion 1,922 –0.3%

Tampa 105 –6.3%

Lehigh 161 –8.0%

Hillsboro 2,732 –8.7%

Florence 394 –15.3%

Lincolnville 168 –17.2%

Durham 89 –20.5%

Lost Springs 55 –21.4%

Peabody 937 –22.6%

Ramona \78 –58.3%

Still, the numbers may not be what they seem.

Nationwide, the Census Bureau claims such numbers have 95% accuracy. Wedel, contacted by the newspaper last week, was in the midst of checking that claim as it applied to Kansas communities.

Numerous differences in how the 2020 census counted various groups have created several anomalies that she is investigating.

Goessel’s growth, for example, might be attributable to how people housed in group settings, like Bethesda Home, are counted.

That doesn’t appear to be the case for Marion, which has a minimal number of group home residents compared to other cities in the county.

But Marion’s number, like the numbers for several other county communities, appears to differ substantially from the Census Bureau’s earlier estimates of population on the same date — April 1, 2020.

The three cities that grew or stayed the same along with one other all had estimated populations that were much smaller.

Burns was projected to have 14.1% fewer residents than the census found; Goessel, 13.5%; Marion, 10.1%; and Tampa, 6.1%.

Other county municipalities had been projected to have more residents than the census found — sometimes by very sizeable margins: Hillsboro, 1.3%; Lehigh, 4.2%; Florence, 7.7%; Lincolnville, 12.0%; Peabody, 13.4%; Lost Springs, 16.7%; Durham, 16.8%; and Ramona, a whopping 55.2%.

The estimates all were linear projections from 2010 data. The Census Bureau now will go back and revise its projection algorithms based on 2020 data, Wedel said.

When projections and actual data are far off, it often sends data analysts like Wedel scurrying to see whether something might be amiss.

The Census Bureau will release its own versions of the data before the end of September, a public information officer from the bureau’s headquarters in Washington said Friday.

However, only if there was some error in how geographic boundaries were applied will these numbers differ from those reported by the bureau’s state partner.

Whether the official release of data might change attitudes of communities proud of or disappointed by the current numbers, two Marion County communities can take pride in finally being recognized as such by the census.

Pilsen and Eastshore now are official “census designated areas” — separate communities regarded as such by the census even though legally they are only improvement districts, not municipalities.

The two join nearby communities of Burdick and Roxbury as being among the areas recognized for the first time in the 2020 census as being their own communities.

Somewhat surprisingly, Marion County Park and Lake did not make the list. A slight possibility exists that its population might accidentally have been added to Marion’s.

Population numbers for those areas have not yet been released by either the Census Bureau or its state partner.

Overall, the Census Bureau reported that 67.9% of Marion County residents, compared to 69.8% statewide, responded to the census on their own, without having to be enumerated by a census taker.

About half — 34.3% — chose to respond via the Internet.

Here are the overall and Internet self-response rates by city:

City OVERALL WEB

Goessel 76.6% 30.6%

Hillsboro 73.6% 60.9%

Marion 73.2% 28.5%

Lehigh 67.1% 53.7%

Tampa 60.6% 19.7%

Burns 59.1% 20.0%

Florence 57.3% 17.9%

Durham 57.1% 15.9%

Peabody 56.6% 21.7%

Lincolnville 54.0% 26.5%

Ramona 48.3% 17.2%

Lost Springs 45.9% 10.8%

Last modified Sept. 2, 2021

 

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