Will The Real Population Numbers Please Stand Up!

Dear Santa:

All I want for Christmas is a good clean set of official population estimates by year. From one official source. I know. I said by year, but it’s not that easy. Population numbers “by year” come in at least four flavors. As of April for Census purposes. As of July for intra-census years. By fiscal year that usually begins in October. And let’s not forgot the good old calendar year! Oh my. I just don’t care. Just make all of the “years” be consistent, please.

Is there a way, Santa, for it to be against the law for any agency to put out population estimates except for the one designated and blessed by you, and only you, to be the official estimator? Also, is there any way that you could require that central agency to let the city officials see the estimates first. Or better yet, have the city submit their estimates and the basis for their estimates to the official high order of population estimators that report only to you? If there is a difference, one party or the other has to agree to one number. If you have to be called in to be the sole arbiter, then so be it.

If the numbers that become the official estimate are averages, please do me a favor. Don’t footnote that it was averaged or that the median was used. I don’t want to know. The official number must be the official number. Yes, it must take into consideration that there is a vacancy rate assumed. Until satellite imagery tools are available to compute an exact vacancy rate, then make one up. But don’t footnote what it is. If it’s from your anointed pop estimating laboratory, then keep it secret. I don’t want to know. It won’t matter, because there can be only one number.

One last favor, Santa, would you please check over my compilation of all Texas cities since 1990 that can be found at this safe and secure Adobe site? I worked very hard to combine all of these files.

I have some other questions, but I don’t want to distract you until you have time:

  • Why was Uncertain, TX uncertain about the name they wanted to give themselves? That one is really bugging me.
  • Also, once a city has a name, is there any way you could make it illegal for another city to put North, East, South or West in front of it and them claim it as their own? That’s just not right and makes it so confusing. Make everybody be original.
  • I believe in the punishment fitting the crime, Santa, so would you permit a public flogging of the person who allowed a city to have the same name as another city in another part of the state? That’s just wrong! Putting the county name in parenthesis is not a fix. I want my pound of flesh on that goof.
  • Does the Town of DISH regret they changed their name for free TV service? Is that like a tattoo that you just have to live with for the rest of your life? Did they think that one through and realize it had to be all caps? Do they yell DISH when someone asked them where they are from?
  • Why did Tool, TX let that happen? Was that a positive term at some time in the past or was there a Mr. Tool who decided to gather all of the little Tools and start a town? I’ll bet it never gets misspelled like Balmorhea.
  • Could Cut and Shoot not decide, so they used used both suggestions? I’ll have to look that one up in the Texas Almanac. Perhaps there was a tentative name until they had their first council meeting that didn’t go so well.

It looks like things are going fairly well in Texas, Santa. There were 26,956,958 of us as of July 2014. Adding about 400,000 to 450,000 a year is pretty impressive! I estimated the numbers for 2015 and 2016 using the most recent five-year average. I could get 2015 from another source, but then I would have to worry about reconciling numbers, and I’m flat worn out from putting together what I have now sent you.

Oh, I forgot to mention something else, Santa. I know you are expecting us to provide services to an additional near-half-mil people every year at no additional cost. Sorry Santa, that ain’t gonna happen. However, most are coming with jobs and equity from their California homes, so we will be okay. Just in case you belong to that Tea Party, Santa, I couldn’t resist.

I am about to release this compilation of population numbers to my blog and CityBase readers, Santa. I’ll let you know when I get a landslide of mail telling me the numbers I am showing for them are wrong. Some will use colorful Texas adjectives about how wrong they are.  That’s why I put the source on the bottom of my report. I hope they don’t go probing around the Web to learn there are only about a dozen “official” state and federal agency population numbers available. Most are not sufficiently generous to include much history. The more history, the greater the potential for arguments. We don’t talk to each other here in Texas, Santa. It’s not in our DNA. We’re flexible. We are also optimistic. Our population would be 100 million by now if it weren’t for those dang Census folks.

There are also several agencies that provide future estimates, way past 2050. The problem with some of those official sources, even those used to forecast water demand, is that they apparently don’t have logic checks built into them. Some state agencies estimate cities to have a certain population by 2050. The only problem is that a few of those cities were at those population levels 10 years ago. Others are projected to be way larger than they are now even though they are nearing build-out and are landlocked. Guess we will see some 100 story housing units in Texas someday.

Anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated, Santa.

Your Faithful Analyst,

Lewis

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