Apartments may not be down for full census count

September 27, 1990|By Michael A. Fletcher | Michael A. Fletcher,Evening Sun Staff

Bathed in the spotlight of Capitol Hill, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke told a House subcommittee about what the city thinks is a clear mistake in the 1990 census count in Baltimore.

Schmoke said the census-takers missed the Chesapeake Commons Apartments, a building he rides by each day.

But, in spite of the mayor's contention that Chesapeake Commons' residents were not counted, the building apparently was visited by census-counters.

Chesapeake's property manager, Diane Younger, said yesterday that she provided a census worker with all the information needed to count the people in the building who had not sent in their forms.

Well, who's right, the mayor or Younger?

They both are, according to city and federal officials working with the census.

Ray Bird, a city planning department official, explained that, while an enumerator may well have visited the apartment building, the city's protest is based on preliminary information provided by the Census Bureau. And that information, he said, listed no housing units in the block where Chesapeake Commons is located.

"They may have the information, but it is not in the report they have given us," Bird said. "They did tell us that the information they gave us is preliminary and incomplete, but that is all we have to react to."

Chesapeake Commons is at Howard and Centre streets. Bird said a preliminary pre-census report given to the city by the Census Bureau last November also listed zero housing units on the block. He said the city noted the mistake, but it was repeated in the report delivered to the city in August.

And that formed the basis for Schmoke's testimony in which he urged that the Census Bureau adjust upward the city's preliminary population of 720,000. He said the city has found census mistakes in 1,136 city blocks whose residents should be recounted.

Philip Lutz, a local review coordinator for the Census Bureau, pointed out that the discovery of such mistakes are an integral part of the census process.

"Because of the volume of the census, the number of housing units processed late may not be reflected in the report given to the city," Lutz said. "Basically, what the mayor communicated to us is part of the process."

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