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Official disputes Willmar data in 2010 Census

WILLMAR -- City Planning and Development Services Director Bruce Peterson disputes the 2010 U.S. Census preliminary population count for the city of Willmar. The census said Willmar's population grew by 6.9 percent from 18,351 in 2000 to 19,610 in 2010.

"There is a dispute, but there is nothing we're going to pursue because it has to do with just the difficulty in conducting the census,'' Peterson said Monday.

Peterson of-fered the personal op-inion that he thinks the city was undercounted, but he also said that he is not dissatisfied with the gains that the city has shown.

"I just think that the numbers that they didn't count 10 years ago are still not being counted today,'' he said. "I think the official count they've given us is 900 to 1,000 low.''

Peterson would not say why he believes the count is low.

Among other things, the census said the city had 8,123 total housing units. The census said 94.5 percent were occupied housing units and 446 were vacant housing units.

Peterson said the number of vacant housing units is not an excessive amount.

"We're dealing with some vacancy issues and possible people living in units that should be vacant, some units that don't have running water in them and are still being occupied,'' he said.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150