New population estimates released

Published 10:54 am Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The U.S. Census Bureau has released its latest population estimates for 2016.

According to the bureau, Prince Edward saw a loss of 215 people.

Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett doubted the accuracy of the numbers.
“I do not have the statistical data to challenge any estimate published by the U.S. Census. That said, I have strong doubts as to the accuracy of that estimate,” Bartlett said. “All indications that we have, point to an increase in population — not a decrease.”

Bartlett pointed to evidence of an increase in the number of students attending the Prince Edward Public Schools, an increase over the last two years in the number of building permits issued by the county, most of which have been for residential buildings, and a decrease in the unemployment rate.

“Estimates are just that — estimates — and with a change that small, less than one half of one percent, that size would be within the margin of error for any survey,” Bartlett said.

He referenced an estimate by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia that showed the population for Prince Edward increasing by 1 percent, or 225 people, from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016.

The information for the same time period by the Census shows the county losing 226 people from the total population count.

“As can be seen by the conflicting estimate from Weldon Cooper, the Census estimate is questionable,” Bartlett said.

The Census’ estimate for Buckingham showed that there was an increase in 30 people between July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2016.

“As it states, they are estimates and we really have no way of knowing for sure the population growth or decline of population until the Census is done — which is done every 10 years,” said Buckingham County Administrator Rebecca S. Carter.

According to the Census estimates, Cumberland County lost 44 people due to migration and death.