Janesville25.4°

Janesville population estimate 'suspect'

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
July 2, 2009
— The U.S. Census Bureau has released its estimates for the populations of U.S. cities, but a Janesville planning specialist said that any numbers about Janesville are suspect in this economy.

The bureau released figures that show Janesville's population increased almost 4 percent the last eight years.


Duane Cherek of the community development department said the city generally relies on annual figures released by the state. The population estimate as of Jan. 1, 2008, was 63,540, about 1,000 more than what the census bureau estimates.


The state uses such information as vehicle and property tax records, growth of new housing and loss of units, he said.


But Cherek said staff members have found even those numbers to be conservative, especially over the last 15 years when Janesville has been experiencing solid growth.


Janesville's population is anyone's guess right now, Cherek said. The national downturn in the economy hit Janesville especially hard with the closure of General Motors and its suppliers.


Residential construction is flat, Cherek said. Residents in fact might be leaving the city, he added.


"What we don't know is what the impact of those circumstances has been for the population or how that translates to the current city population," Cherek said.


"We don't have a mechanism in place that directly measures out migration."


Cherek said the upcoming 2010 census will be very timely and telling in terms of knowing what the city's population actually is.


Residents should receive surveys in February or March.



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