Census shows slight increases, no big changes

OSCEOLA COUNTY — At first wash, the numbers are exciting.

Taking a little calmer look, the numbers don’t really mean that much.

With the release of the 2010 Census numbers for Michigan and Osceola County, folks got a bit worked up.

It appears Michigan, areas around the state, and Osceola County aren’t actually losing the numbers of residents everyone had cried about for years.

“Things aren’t as bad as everyone says,” was the prevailing comment.

In fact, Osceola County had increased its population by 1.4 percent.

That makes for good press.

In reality, the 1.4 percent increase means an increase of 331 residents.

County planners and officials simply aren’t too impressed.

“These additional 331 people are spread out over 18 units of government in our county,” Osceola County clerk Karen Bluhm pointed out. “I suppose it makes a difference how that spread works out, but the fact is this increase simply isn’t going to make too much of a difference for anything.

“The apportionment committee will be meeting to take a careful look at the numbers. Everyone in some role in county government will be looking carefully at the numbers as well.

“I’ve looked at the numbers and simply don’t see where the things have changed drastically enough in any single location to really make a difference in any way. I don’t anticipate any kind of change as a result of these numbers unless someone has an plan to change the number of commissioners, or start reconfiguring representational districts based on what are really such low numbers.

“The way these numbers have changed probably since the last census doesn’t mean much.”

Bluhm pointed out that while census numbers were certainly official numbers, they were not necessarily accurate numbers reflecting any kind of a trend — either upward or downward.

“Honestly, if someone wants to see a population trend, it would probably be more accurate to look at school student count numbers,” she said.

“There was a lot of talk 10 years ago about how the census was handled poorly at that time. There were real concerns that the 2000 count was not as detailed or accurate as it should or could be.

“That in itself may be reflected in the count carried out in 2010.

“On top of that, the census count for 2010 really doesn’t accurately reflect anything that has happened since the actual counting — with businesses closing and families leaving the area after filling out census forms.

“At best, the census is an estimate. I believe the numbers we have today are more accurate than they were ten-years ago, but that doesn’t mean these numbers will have any practical application to our county.”

“An increase of 1.4 percent is nice, but it really doesn’t mean anything.”