The 2010 U.S. Census numbers for New Albany and Union County are disappointing.
The numbers made public Friday put New Albany’s population at 8,034, up only 5.6 percent from the 7,607 people counted in the 2000 Census. Union County grew 7 percent to 27,134 compared to 25,362.
Several local business and government officials had estimated the Census would show about 8,500 people live in New Albany, but the official numbers show that estimate was optimistic.
New Albany Mayor Tim Kent is one of those disappointed with the numbers:
“It’s surprising because we think we have about 3,300 households, which we thought we put our population nearer 8,500,” he said.
Others, including Phil Nanney of the Union County Development Association, were not surprised:
“If Toyota had opened two years ago, our numbers would have been different,” he said. “But we haven’t had much new employment and our housing industry has been in a slump.”
Why should we care? There are several reasons, we think.
First, the federal government distributes more than $400 billion of our tax money to state and local governments each year based on the Census data. Second, Census data influences where money goes for new services, including roads and the like. It also is a factor in determining the location of retail businesses, restaurants and manufacturing plants.
The fact is a growth rate of only about one-half percent a year is not an attractive number to attract much development. We only can hope the numbers will trend up as Toyota and its supplier plants get rolling.