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Idaho population growth in 2012 again concentrated in cities

Eighty-eight of Idaho’s 200 cities lost population in 2012, while 107 gained and five went unchanged, according to the latest U.S. Census figures. Statewide, Idaho’s population went up by 0.8 percent in 2012; city populations were up 1 percent from 2011 to 2012. The upshot: Idaho’s population gain in 2012 was concentrated in its cities rather than its rural areas, continuing a longstanding trend. In 2012, 69 percent of Idahoans lived in incorporated cities; that’s up from 59 percent in 1990.

Cities losing population were mostly the smallest ones; there were just three with populations of more than 10,000 that had losses: Rexburg, Mountain Home and Blackfoot. Click here for a full report from the Idaho Department of Labor, including a breakdown by city that shows each city’s population in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Census: Number of Spokane businesses dropped

Spokane County had fewer businesses in 2011 than it did in pre-recession 2007, new Census figures show. Annual payroll was down and the number of businesses in all size categories had fallen — except one. That category is businesses with more than 1,000 employees.

There were nine businesses with 1,000 or more paid employees in 2011, up from seven in 2007, Census data shows.

The report, called “County Business Patterns: 2011,” doesn’t break down employers by name.

But according to the Journal of Business Book of Lists, the over-1,000 crowd for 2011 includes Spokane’s two big hospitals and Rockwood Clinic; URM and Wal-Mart; Avista; Northern Quest Casino; West Corp., the big call-center company; and Gonzaga University. The Census table doesn’t include most government employees.

Spokane County had 12,151 business establishments in 2011, compared with 12,961 in 2007. The largest category is very small businesses, with one to four employees. There were 6,410 such businesses in 2011, down from 6,648 in 2007.

 


  

Rural Idaho loses population

Population decline in rural Idaho intensified in 2011, new U.S. Census Bureau estimates show.

More people left the state’s rural areas between mid-2010 and mid-2011, and more counties lost population than at any other time since the 1980s. Eighteen of the 33 rural counties saw population declines.

In the Idaho Panhandle, Benewah, Bonner, Boundary and Shoshone counties all lost population between July 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011, according to Census Bureau estimates. Kootenai County gained about 2,200 residents, or 1.6 percent, in the same period.

Statewide population rose 13,883 – almost entirely in 11 urban counties, the figures show.

Nine counties posted more deaths than births during the one-year period. They include Beneweh, Boundary, Shoshone, Clearwater, Lewis and Nez Perce counties in North Idaho.

Where the girls are

COEUR d'ALENE - Time to celebrate, fellas. There are lots of ladies in Kootenai County.

Unlike the rest of the state, our county boasts more women than men, according to new estimates released by the U.S. Census.

Last year's count reveals that the county's 138,494 residents are comprised of 70,237 women and 68,257 men. Alecia Warren, CDA Press

A commenter on the press site says, “You can pretty much bet the excess female folk are over 70. Eeewwwwww ….”

Hmm… here I was thinking all those ladies most likely raised the collective IQ of the county. What do you think?

Reminder: Redistricting Commish meets tonight

The Washington State Redistricting Commission has a special meeting plus a public forum this evening at Spokane Falls Community College.

Want more info? Click here for details on the meeting.

Click here for Sunday's column on do-it-yourself redistricting.

Idaho ranks low, falling for school spending

It's not just that Idaho ranks 50th in the nation for per-pupil spending on schools, an area where the state long has ranked low. It's that Idaho's ranking for school spending per $1,000 in personal income in the state has dropped dramatically, from 15th in the nation in 2001 to 41st in the latest U.S. Census report, released last week.

“I think we are in a race to the bottom here, it seems like,” said Sherri Wood, president of the Idaho Education Association, the state's teachers union. “Unfortunately it certainly is not going to be good for the state, and not for our students either.” Melissa McGrath, spokeswoman for state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna, said, “We do not believe that per-pupil spending or the amount of money you put into education is the most important factor in determining a great public education system.” She said students from Idaho and Utah - the only state Idaho beat for per-pupil spending - outperform those in states that outspend them. Utah ranks 38th for school spending per $1,000 in personal income. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
  

Of school reform, panic buttons, lawsuits and ranking 50th…

While I'm off enjoying time with family this week, the news marches on: The referendum on this year's school reform legislation has gathered enough signatures to make the November 2012 ballot - read a full report here from AP reporter John Miller - state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna's office installed a third “panic button” in March, according to a report here from Twin Falls Times-News reporter Ben Botkin; a federal appeals court has revived the decades-old “Jeff D” lawsuit against the state of Idaho over substandard childrens' mental health care; you can read a full report here from AP reporter Rebecca Boone; new census numbers show Idaho ranks 50th in per-pupil spending - before the latest budget cuts - the Idaho Statesman's Kevin Richert writes about it here; and a tea party group wants a conservative Idaho publishing house's version of constitutional history taught in schools; read the AP report here.

Kootenai Co Population: 138,494

Boise suburbs were among the fastest-growing areas of Idaho in the past decade, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. Nampa, with 81,557 residents, grew by 57 percent, while neighboring Meridian, at 75,092, grew by a whopping 115 percent, according to 2010 Census details released this afternoon. Ada County, with a population of 392,365, grew by 30.4 percent since 2000, and Canyon County, at 188,923 residents, grew by 43.7 percent. In the Panhandle, Kootenai County saw growth of 27.4 percent. It had 138,494 residents in 2010/Spokesman-Review. Washington Census numbers here.

Question: Is North Idaho getting too crowded for you?

Will WA get a 10th House seat?

Set next Tuesday aside for marking something other than the Winter Solstice. It will also be the day Washington state finds out whether it will add one more congressional district.

The U.S. Census Bureau will announce the national headcount and the state-by-state breakdowns. From that, states learn how many congressional districts they will have for the next decade.

The national population is estimated to be between 305.7 million and 312.7 million, up from 281.4 million in 2000, and the biggest gains are in the South and West.

Washington is reportedly on the cusp of having grown enough to get a new congressional seat, going from nine to 10…and won’t that make for fun line-drawing by the state commission that will figure out those boundaries next year?

Idaho is expected to stay steady at two House seats.

WA may add a congressional seat

Washington state could be in line for a new congressional district when the numbers from the 2010 Census become final.
A private organization that analyzes census, election and political data said Monday the state could just make the cut for adding a seat if the once-per-decade national headcount comes out as expected.
That would give Washington 10 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and give the state Redistricting Commission more to do than just adjust the current nine congressional districts and 49 legislative districts…

To read more, click here to go inside the blog.

RNC “Census” update: Yet another law tries to stop it


Members of Congress are apparently so ticked off about the Republican National Committee’s use of a “Census” to raise money in its mailers that they’ve introduced a new bill to stop it,  passing it quickly this week on a voice vote in the House of Representatives.

So what, Republicans out there might say. The House is run by Democrats always looking to take a shot at the GOP. Except this bill was written by Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, and it passed without dissent from either party.

The RNC remains unabashed about its mailings, which have gone out to Eastern Washington residents as well as folks in some other states. RNC Chairman Michael Steele, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “This was within the law as written. I can’t help it that the Democrats wrote a bad bill.”

He answers a question about it in at about 6:17 of the above clip..

The previous bill outlawing the practice was sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and passed unanimously in the House and Senate this year. The RNC believes it complies with the law, which bans the use of the word Census on the envelope, because “Census Document” appears on a page of the mailing with the addressee’s name that’s inside the envelope and shows through a plastic window.

Issa told the Associated Press it’s not a partisan issue. “When it comes to the Census htere is no separation between Republicans and Democrats. Working together we thought we put an end to this deceptive practice. Unfortunately, the foolishness of the RNC to move forward with yet another deceptive mail piece has caused us to act again.”

The new bill is now in the Senate.

Spokane, Valley cities tie on census bet

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner and Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey

Elected officials are sometimes unable to avoid making bets with their counterparts in other realms about sporting events. When there are no decent sporting events, they sometimes cook up other competitions on which to wager.

Thus it was that Spokane Mayor Mary Verner and Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey managed to bet on which city’s residents would do better on returning their 2010 Census forms by the end of April. Loser has to wear a shirt with the other city’s logo.

Although it is not yet the end of April, the Census Bureau has released the results for Washington city returns, so the day of reckoning is at hand.

And the winner is: Nobody. Or everybody. In other words, it’s a tie. Both cities have a return rate of 76 percent.

One might think the mayors would just let this little wager die a nice, quiet death. But one would be wrong. Each agreed to don the other city’s shirt, and issue a joint press release.

“The great people of the Spokane region once again delivered,” said Verner.  “I’m proud to wear Spokane Valley’s colors in support of all the people who filled out their 2010 Census forms.”
“Pink isn’t one of my favorite colors,” said Towey of the pastel shirt provided by Verner.  “But since Mayor Verner is one of my favorite mayors, I’m going to wear it proudly.”

And by the way, the mayors said. If you are among the one in four who didn’t turn in your Census form, be nice to the Census taker who comes to your door in May to get the information.

 

3 of 4 Census forms back

The U.S. Census Bureau says Washington has exceed it mail-back participation in the 2010 Census compared to 2000. It says nearly 3 of 4 residences, or 74 percent, have mailed back their forms. 

That’s 2 percentage points ahead of the mail-back previous census.

Idaho has matched its 2000 mail-back rate, and is just ahead of Washington at 75 percent.

That puts both states ahead of the national return rate of 72 percent, but behind Minnesota, which has an 80 percent mail-back rate.

Other than potential bragging rights between the states, or between this decade and last, the return rate is significant for a fiscal reason. Every form that is returned is a household that doesn’t have to be contacted personally by Census workers looking to fill in the blanks.

Spokane, Spokane Valley and Colville are all at 76 percent, the bureau reports. For a full list of Washington cities, go inside the blog.

RNC “Census” mailing investigated, criticized

Fundraising letters sent to Eastern Washington voters from the national Republican Party are receiving a review by the U.S. Postal Service and bipartisan criticism from members of Congress who view them as a deceptive and potentially illegal infringement on the U.S. Census.
Two Democratic House members wrote the postmaster general, calling for an investigation into whether the April 12 mailings violate a law that passed unanimously this year and was signed by President Obama on April 7. The letters, signed by Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, were also sent to residents of several other states.
One Republican congressman says the letters “violate the letter as well as the spirit” of that law and another is proposing yet another law to try to stop the RNC’s long-standing money raising tactic.
The national GOP organization is unfazed. A spokesman insisted Monday the mailings are “in full compliance” with the law and designed to raise money to beat incumbent Democrats. Jahan Wilcox wouldn’t say how many districts around the country were sent mailings: “We don’t get into details on our fund-raising practices.”
As reported Sunday in The Spokesman-Review’s Spin Control, the fund-raising letter comes in a letter marked “Official Document/Do Not Destroy” and bold words above the address say it contains a “Census Document Registered To” the recipient. Lighter type above the Census notation says “This is not a U.S. Government Document”.

RNC mailer: Is it illegal, or just silly? Let’s do a census

Some Eastern Washington voters diligent about returning their U.S. Census form may have been surprised last week when what seemed like another Census form arrived in the mail.
An official looking letter – its envelope, after all reads DO NOT DESTROY/OFFICIAL DOCUMENT – says it is carrying a “Census Document” registered to the addressee, with one of those cool line codes that just reek of officialdom.
The document inside isn’t from the Census Bureau. But it is someone you might’ve heard of: Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.
The nation’s top GOP official took time out from his busy schedule of trying not to get fired to get input from “a select few” in Washington’s 5th Congressional District. How select isn’t clear, but chances are not very. The copy forwarded to me came from a friend’s spouse who is in no way a Republican. Nonetheless, the information sought is described as absolutely critical to building what Steele’s calls “a state of the art grassroots organization” to win races up and down the ballot.
To do that, Steele sent out a “2010 Congressional District Census”, which masquerades as an in-depth survey, but is really just a way to raise money. A sample of the questions:

From another perspective, Tacoma really is Washington’s second city

 

Our good friends at the political blog at The News Tribune in Tacoma appear to be challenging us to a friendly Swivel chart war.

Responding to our bar chart showing that Spokane is the second largest city in the state — with a 2,000-person lead over Tacoma — The News Tribune’s Political Buzz reminded us that Pierce County has a signficant lead over Spokane County and easily claims the highly coveted title of “Washington’s Second County.” We at Spin Control do not dispute this title, only its relevance.

Today’s fun video: How funny can you make the census?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Gary Locke Pt. 1
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform

Oh right, the census.

That’s why former Washington Gov. and current Commerce Secretary Gary Locke was on the Daily Show Thursday night.

The Commerce Department, see, is in charge of the Census, which is underway. It’s in that government envelope you received in the mail and put with the sweepstakes, credit card touts and other stuff you’ll open some time, when you get around to it … but may just throw out because the stack is getting too tall and it’s late tonight and trash pickup is tomorrow morning.

Which means you are going to cost the federal government a bazillion dollars because they’ll have to send a census taker to your door  (about a gajillion times because you’re just never home) to get the answers to the 10 little questions you could answer in about two minutes if you’d just Open the Darn Envelope and Fill Out the Damn Form.

But we digress. Locke’s appearance is apparently part of the huge marketing effort underway for the census. The marketing effort seemingly did not spend a lot on writing Locke’s jokes and practicing his delivery; but then, Locke was always a bit of a wonk, so he makes a decent straight man for Stewart, and manages to slip in a few interesting bits…like the  question that was on the form in 1790 that isn’t on the form in 2010. Answer at about 2:40 in the first clip.

And Locke does get two segments, which is more than Snoop Dogg got on Wednesday night. Second segment is below.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Gary Locke Pt. 2
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform

Have times truly changed?

Good morning, Netizens…



In this March 30, 2007 photo, Michelle, right, and James Cadeau play ball with their children, Elliot, 2, left, and Justin, 5, in the backyard of their home in West Orange, N.J.. The surge of interracial marriages and multiracial children is producing a 21st century America more diverse than ever, with the potential to become less stratified by race. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)



Now let’s take a look at this tasty demographic, particularly from the perspective of life in the Inland Northwest. Since we do not, at present, have the results from the census currently being taken, we do not have a valid, current benchmark to determine how many interracial marriages nor multi-racial children we current have living in the Inland Northwest, although I suspect the numbers are up from previous years.



We also have an ongoing issue with racist organizations in the Inland Northwest, if not other areas of the United States, although various sources would have us believe otherwise. Within the last twelve months, we have had several ugly situations where racist activities were recorded in the police logs on both sides of our state line with Idaho. To sum it up succinctly, ignorance and racial hatred is still hard to kill and it isn’t dead yet.



Experience? I can speak to that. Over forty years ago, in the San Francisco Bay Area, I met and became enamored of a woman of color, a teacher in the Oakland School District, and we nearly became a serious item. However, even in the so-called liberal bastion of Northern California, neither of us were willing to bring interglacial children into that environment.



I want my grandchildren to have the security to marry anyone of their choosing, without fear and without reservations based upon race. I do submit that might still be a generation away, but I could be wrong. The only step is for everyone to embrace diversity. Will it happen in my lifetime?



Dave