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Opinion | A recount for Memphis in the 2020 Census is about more than ego | Otis Sanford

ABC24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shared his point of view on Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s contention the 2020 Census undercounted in Memphis.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The U.S. Census count is not an exact science. Despite best efforts and best practices, it is virtually impossible for the census bureau to collect and release 100% accurate population data – if only because of the daily changes in births and deaths in a particular city. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic made things even more difficult this time for census takers.

But what if the count is off by a mile? That’s where a formal challenge process comes in, and the city of Memphis is launching one.

Mayor Jim Strickland said the 2020 Census undercounted the Bluff City by nearly 16,000 people, and Memphis actually gained in population over the past 10 years rather than lost people. The mayor’s findings come from the Memphis-Shelby County Division of Planning the Development, based on the city’s boundaries and housing count.

The appeal is about more than ego. Federal dollars flow into Memphis based on population, and the city is right to make sure it gets every dime it can.

Besides, challenging census numbers is not unusual, and don’t be surprised if there is a slight adjustment to the city’s count, which now stands at about 633,000. It still won’t change legislative redistricting, which has already been completed and cost Memphis one seat in the state House.

But politics aside, this is about economic fairness. And city leaders should always work to get our share.

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