Florence Sign

FLORENCE — Town population is officially 27,061 after the town’s successful challenge of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 estimate raised the total by 642, the town announced Feb. 12.

Town officials touted the increased population number as potentially leading to a boost in funds to pave and repair streets, provide police and fire services, run recreational facilities and provide planning services to help the town grow efficiently.

“As each resident of the town brings over $400 back to the town, the increase of 642 residents is not insignificant, and could result in future increases of state-shared revenue of over $250,000 per year,” the town said.

Every confirmed resident is important as the town works to limit its losses if more than 3,000 residents leave when the state closes the Arizona State Prison-Florence Complex this year.

The town’s announcement said the revised figure is also important because it will be used as a baseline for the Census Bureau’s 2019 estimate, and “will serve to ensure the estimate for 2019 population will be more accurate.”

The town filed a challenge after determining the Census Bureau’s 2018 estimate did not adequately account for the incarcerated, or “group quarters” populations in Florence or for the significant new growth in the prior year.

The town undertook a lengthy and detailed challenge process, providing monthly data on group quarters population and residential building permits issued over the previous 10 years. These were compiled and sent to the Census Bureau prior to its August deadline for population estimate challenges.

Over the next few months, the Census Bureau reviewed the town’s data and ultimately agreed the population had been undercounted.

The town is also working for an accurate count in the 2020 Census, the first one that can be filled out online. “The town is encouraging all its residents to begin filling out the census once it goes online in only four weeks,” the town’s news release stated.

“The bureau will send postcards to each residence, with the link to complete the survey. A complete count will bring more resources to Florence, thereby increasing the quality of life for our community,” the town said.

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.

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