Friday, March 18, 2011

18 MAR 11: Stats the Way It Is

C'mon, confess now - were you one of the people who boycotted last year's Census? Were you so unnerved by the "intrusiveness" of it that you refused to mail back the form? And what did you do when Census enumerators knocked on your door -- demand they count the President's birth certificates?

Data from Census 2010 was released Thursday for Columbus and all of Georgia. As of last April, Muscogee County's population was 189,885. So it only took 115 Tea Party members to prevent the city from crossing a big milestone.

The Census data confirms what the Chamber of Commerce projected several years ago. Columbus is now like Phenix City [25 Feb], with NO "majority" ethnic community. The breakdown shows 46.3 percent of the residents are Caucasian, 45.5 percent are African-American - and the Hispanic 6.4 percent are happy simply to have big-name musicians at the Caliente nightclub.

It's tempting to suggest Columbus has no ethnic majority because of "white flight" to Harris County. Its population jumped 25 percent in the last decade, and has increased to 79-percent Caucasian. And who knows how many residents take comfort in the fact that METRA buses never cross the county line....

WTVM did the math, and determined Muscogee County's population has increased four percent since 2000. Which reminds me - if we're a decade into the next millennium, is the millennium still "new?"

A Columbus State University professor noted the city's population is likely to jump by year's end, as base realignment becomes complete. That could also affect Chattahoochee County, which lost population for the fourth Census count in a row. The unified government in Cusseta might as well let Fort Benning annex it all....

(On the other hand, Stewart County saw its first decade-to-decade population gain in at least 50 years. The Census found 24 percent of the population is Hispanic - so it's no wonder some attorneys claim the correctional institution for suspected illegal immigrants is overcrowded.)

The Census report breaks down Columbus's population into several subdivisions - but without a map, it's hard to determine where the boundary lines are. The data mentions an East, a North, a West and "Fort Benning." So once again, Columbus South gets no respect.

The Census Bureau counted more than 8,600 vacant housing units in Columbus. That will interest Mayor Teresa Pike Tomlinson, who made a campaign issue out of properties sitting idle or going underutilized. You can probably create some interesting condominiums out of abandoned downtown car dealerships.

Putting the entire state together, Georgia's population increased by 18 percent between 2000 and 2010. That means one more Congressional seat, with the legislature waiting to approve a new map of the districts. This is one of those rare occasions when men actually will take a close look at maps....

The numbers game continues, in our review of other Thursday news:

+ Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan announced 17 staff members are being laid off, and more job cuts could be coming. Russell County residents can do something to prevent this - by planting cotton in their gardens this spring.

+ Former Jordan High School star Terrance Hill led Morehead State to the first big upset of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Hill scored a career-high 23 points in a 62-61 lashing of Louisville. This Kansas fan was concerned about a regional semifinal clash with Louisville - and ended the day singing, "More, More, Morehead! How do you like it?"

+ Bars on Broadway were busy with people marking Saint Patrick's Day. I'm sorry, but I don't buy the argument that "everybody's Irish" on 17 March. For one thing, is everyone a union member on Labor Day?

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