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Tuscaloosa Mayor believes pandemic impacted census results

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 5:36 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2021 at 5:39 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Mayor Walt Maddox of Tuscaloosa believes the city’s census count was lower than it should be because the census started weeks before the University of Alabama announced 2020 Spring classes were ending early due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Maddox said thousands of students who live off campus were not counted because they went home when the count was happening. He said that’s why Tuscaloosa fell a few hundred people short of having 100,000 residents. According to Maddox, being below 100,000 people creates economic and psychological problems for the city. Having more than 100,000 people living in the city would make it eligible to get more federal money.

Maddox believes It would also make it easier to sell the city for business development if it can tout having more than 100,000 people in it. “When you look at the census blocks, we do have these numbers. And you compare it to the number of people that you know are living there it’s easy to see, especially in the outside the campus area where students live that thousands of students were not counted,” he told WBRC .

Tuscaloosa gets a chance to make its case in January. That’s when the census bureau appeals process can begin. The Mayor said the city will hire a special consultant or legal counsel to it make the argument more people should have been counted that weren’t.

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