Today the U.S. Census Bureau delivered the 2010 census to the governor of Oregon. Taken every ten years, the census is used for many things, but the initial data is used by state officials to realign congressional and state legislative districts. While this is an important function for democracy in our country, it is way more fun to use the data as a big competition.
Ever since I was a kid, Eugene and Salem have been fighting it out for second place in the state population race. In 2000, the date of the last census, Eugene eked out Salem by the slimmest of margins, 137,893 to 136,924. Now, ten years later, Eugene has slightly widened its lead, 156,185 to 154,637. Still pretty insignificant, but leading none the less!
Using the new census data is is not all that easy. It pretty much requires a stats degree, or a lot of time watching tutorial videos to learn how to use it. Also, currently, the really cool data, like the comparison of every city and town in Oregon, is not up yet, but here is the one for 2000. It is still very interesting to look at.
A nice press release with a lot of data, from which every news article in the state was derived, is published here. Or you can mess around with this interactive map right here.
It is kind of amazing to think that if Eugene continues to grow at it current pace for the next ten years, we will be living in a community of nearly 177,000 people. Do you think it will be able to maintain its small city feeling?