Calls for a special census as Naperville continues to grow

There is some evidence that Naperville has grown since the 2010 Census – and a special census would be able to prove it.

This would be the first special census in Naperville since 2008 and would follow other special counts taken in 2003 and four times between 1990 and 2000 during a period of major expansion…

Some subdivisions on Naperville’s southwest side are still filling with residents and the city has approved a few new housing developments in recent years…

“If things in Springfield were normal, which they haven’t been for a long time, each additional body would have been worth $100,” Krieger said. “This year there has been a lot of discussion about reducing that amount.”

Conducting the special census could cost between $80,000 and $140,000, depending on how many census tracts the city decides to count. Officials would want to be certain a tract has seen enough new residents — based on building permits and occupancy certificates — before counting it.

It sounds like this is all about money: proof of more residents = more state dollars. Many communities could use such cash but as this story points out, there has to be enough growth to outweigh the costs of conducting the census. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the reverse where communities conduct a census to track population loss; that would be a double cost.

Another note: population growth can translate into funding but it can also add to a community’s image. If it hasn’t already, Naperville is very close to being a built-out suburb. Yet, we generally have the idea in the United States that good communities are growing communities. A special census could suggest Naperville is still attractive.

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