City’s population likely more than what the state estimates.

If the city of Princeton went by the state demographer’s estimate of the city’s population, it would show that it never changed over the years 2010 and ‘11, staying the same at 4,698.

Not only did the state’s estimation of the city’s population raise questions from Princeton City Administrator Mark Karnowski last week, but also the state’s estimates of the city’s household numbers.

The state reported the number of households at 1,928 for 2011, and 1,926 for 2010. Karnowski, in a memo to the council last Thursday, reported that he had received communication from the state demographer’s office as well, that the number of households in 2011 was 2,044.

Karnowski said during the council meeting that the actual population and number of households should have risen significantly in 2011 because of the opening of the  Sterling Pointe senior living apartment complex in August 2011. The complex has more than 50 apartments, a number of them memory-care units.

But a key reason for the numbers in the state estimates, in talking with senior research analyst James W. Hibbs at the Minnesota State Demographic Center, is the state’s timing for compiling the data.

Hibbs explained that his office uses the decennial census, in this case 2010, as the base, and then estimates for the years after that using data on building permits. Also, “to be consistent with the date of the decennial census, our estimates are for April 1 of each year,” Hibbs said.

Hibbs noted that the census bureau reported to his office that the city issued only two housing unit permits in 2010. “We mailed the estimates to the city on June 1, 2012,” Hibbs continued. “The city had until June 24 to challenge our estimates. We did not hear from them within that time period. We cannot change the estimates after they have been forwarded to the Minnesota Department of Revenue. We are required to deliver the estimates to Revenue each year by July 15.”

Karnowski said that the numbers in the state report won’t be a big deal for the city as the report will catch up in the next estimate.

Hibbs also talked about definitions when it comes to household numbers. Households actually refer to the number of housing units that are occupied, Hibbs said. (It also could be that the 2,044 households that Karnowski mentioned hearing about for April 2011, might have been housing units.)

It is a fact that Princeton has had a number of vacant housing units, much of that due to foreclosure in the past few years.

Karnowski and council members have for years been looking forward to the city reaching a population of at least 5,000 because then the city becomes eligible for certain state funding help for certain roads.

Other numbers in the state report show that, as of April 2011, the population of Baldwin Township was 6,746, compared to 6,739 in 2010. Princeton Township’s population was listed at 2,240 in 2011 compared to 2,254 in 2010.

Baldwin’s households were shown to be 2,343 in 2011, versus 2,518 in 2010, a  decline of 175. Baldwin has also had foreclosures. The number of households listed for Princeton Township was also a decline, going from 869 in 2010, to 835 in 2011.