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City of Larned files 2010 Census appeal
Population down 4.3 percent from 2000
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By Jim Misunas
LARNED — The city of Larned has filed an appeal with the U.S. Census Bureau arguing its 2010 headcount is too low. The 2010 Census reports the city of Larned had 4,054 residents, a 4.3 percent decrease from 2000 when it had 4,236 people.
The appeal is filed with the 2010 Count Question Resolution (CQR) program, a mechanism for state and local government officials to challenge the 2010 Census population counts.  Stephanie Smiley is the CQR employee who oversees challenges from Kansas cities and counties in Washington, D.C.
A city or county must submit evidence in the form of maps and address lists in challenged sectors of the city. Address lists of all housing units or group quarters located in the challenged blocks is also required.
City of Larned and Census Bureau officials did not know how long the challenge process will take. But the CQR program will accept challenges until June 1, 2013.
In the past 10 years, Larned has added new duplexes Prairie Villas and Hearthstone and an additional 20 new single-family houses have been constructed, according to city records.
Frieda Smith, city of Larned building inspector, has been working to rectify some addresses that city officials believe were missed during the 2010 Census. Former City Manager Don Gaeddert had made a similar assertion in 2000.
Smith said Census takers recorded information on hand-held devices. She said more than half of the 149 addresses that were apparently missed are going to be added back into the mix.
“We had some addresses that were missed and some numbers that were deleted by the Census takers,” Smith said. “It happens everywhere. They’ve reinstated more than half of them.”
Smith said the city’s utility statements are an accurate measure whether a family is living at a residence.  
“Utility accounts were taken into consideration,” she said.
Smith said Larned’s final count could eventually be calculated higher once that adjustment is made.
Courtland Holman, Larned Chamber of Commerce director, said he was aware of about 100 homes in the city that had been identified as vacant in the original Census report that are occupied.
The 2010 Census indicate Pawnee County’s population is shrinking. The county’s four incorporated cities lost population and 19 of 21 Townships showed a population drop in the past 10 years.
The 2010 Census indicates a 3.6 decrease for Pawnee County since 2000, the last Census. The figures certified by the Kansas Secretary of State indicated Pawnee County’s population at 6,973, a drop of 260 people from the 7,233 total in 2000.
Pawnee County’s other incorporated cities also lost population. Burdett (247) dropped nine people; Garfield (198) had eight less people; and Rozel (156) had 26 fewer citizens.
The 3.6 percent county-wide drop would’ve been much larger,  but Pawnee Township’s population of 441 was a 537 percent increase from 82 residents in 2010. The other rural townships showed a loss of 394 people. There was an overall loss of 35 citizens in the rural areas.
Pawnee County Clerk Ruth Searight suspects the Pawnee Township increase is likely attributed to one of the buildings on the Larned State Hospital complex.
“It probably has something to do with one of the newer buildings at the state hospital,” she said.
Several townships showed small increases. Conkling Townships was plus four and Logan Township was plus one resident.
Courtland Holman, Chamber of Commerce director, said the numbers might be a subtle signal of growth in the city of Larned.
“There’s always traffic coming and going, but you see that local houses are selling, which is always a good sign,” he said.
Pawnee County had appeared to lose an estimated 1,000 people in the past decade when it was 7,233 in 2000. Since 2000, the Kansas Secretary of State uses estimates of population for nine years until the next Census.
City of Larned officials said caution should be used comparing 2010 to 2009.
Compared to 2009 (which uses estimated population totals) the four incorporated cities in Pawnee County appeared to grow by 554 people. The rural townships appeared to gain 203 people.
Compared to 2009, Pawnee County’s total of 6,973 showed an apparent rise of 767 people compared to the 2009 estimate of 6,206.
Larned was up 14 percent from an estimated 3,540 to 4,054. Burdett was up from 218 to 247, a 13 percent increase.  Garfield increased from 169 to 190, a 12 percent increase. Rozel stayed the same at 156.