Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cooper City population and other facts

The University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research paper, “Florida Estimates of Population 2008” is now published. Based on that study by the University, Cooper City’s 2008 population as of April 1, 2008 is estimated to be at 30,074 people.

The BEBR population study is an estimate, as Cooper City does not qualify to be a part of the actual American Consumer Survey. Cooper City will however will be a very comprehensive part of the 2010 Census from which the city will receive very valuable data from the actual count, along with other very important demographic data. Why is this important? For many reasons...

The U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 2 mandates that an apportionment of representatives among the states, for the House of Representatives, be carried out every ten years. Apportionment is the process of dividing the 435 seats in the US House of Representatives among the 50 states. Congress decides the method to carry out the apportionment and since 1940 has used the method of ‘equal proportions’ in accordance with Title 2, US Code.

Using equal portions, each state is assigned one congressional seat as provided by the Constitution. The apportionment formula then allocates the remaining 385 seats, one at a time among the 50 states, until all 435 seats are assigned. In addition to apportionment, the decennial census results are used to distribute almost $200 billion annually in Federal and state, local, and tribal funds; deliniate state legislative districts; evaluate the success of programs or identify populations in need of services, along with many other purposes.

More than 120 federal programs use census data in funding formulas. Examples include WIC, Unemployment Insurance, Job Training Partnership Act, Airport Improvement Act, Highway Planning and Construction, Head Start, Medicaid, and so on. The data collected by the Census is needed to administer, fund and/or monitor these taxpayer funded programs.

While the federal government uses census data for many purposes, businesses, students, and many others also user census data. Businesses may use the data to decide where to locate a store, or to select products for a specific geographical area. From the large corporation considering opening a new facility in a specific neighborhood to John or Jane Doe next door who dreams of starting his or her own business, both need census data to make their decisions.

Census data tells them if an area can supply the customers or clients they need for their product or service. It tells them if the area can supply the workforce they need. It gives them information about the area--is it growing, stable or declining, and how has it changed over the past decade? It gives them a good idea of location.

When making a decision to open a business, there are many demographic characteristics to review-- population by age and possibly by gender or ethnicity, income levels, commuter patterns, educational attainment, nativity, occupations and industries.

Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Organizations and Small Business Development Centers all rely on this data to draw business to an area and help individuals start their own businesses. Combined with Economic Census data, it is powerful.

Students research neighborhoods and cities for class projects and the local parent-teacher organization may use data to track trends in the local area. Historians, writers, and other researchers use census data to get information on what a part of the the country was like at a particular point in time.

All levels of government--national, state and local--use census data in the formulation, administration and evaluation of public policy. The census gives a comprehensive picture of the social and living conditions of our residents. Only a census can provide such complete details. The census is not, however, an end in itself! Rather, the results are essential tools for effective policy, planning and decision making purposes at all levels of government, along with your valued input. Local governments use it to determine if schools have sufficient space or if the tax-base is shifting, or if the area becomes a bedroom community for commuters working elsewhere.
Planners look at demographic, social, economic and housing trends over time to determine changes and their impact. They can then plan and prepare for the future. This would include whether new schools are needed, land use, parks and recreation areas, public services, roads, traffic lights, transit, grants, and comprehensive plans. Virtually every census data item is of use. Planners cannot prepare for the future, without looking at today and comparing it to the past.

In the meantime, here are some other interesting extractions from the BEBR report; Cooper City is the 20th largest city by population of the 32 municipalities in Broward County. Cooper City is the 83rd largest city by population amongst the entire state, and Cooper City has a larger population than 18 counties in Florida.

As far as the upcoming mid-year review of the budget and city operations, my cautious outlook and approach to what we need to do to get this city back on track (such as the Land Development Code re-write/review) just might prove to be indicative of far more than what we see on the surface as to what is going on in our city.

What I'm beginning to see, and what I've said to my constituents in a positive, tempered and realistic assessment of our economic situation is this...while things continue to be as bad as we have ever seen them, the precursors to the end of this decline should now be taking shape by the city commission, and now is the time to plan to take advantage of it as it comes about.

All of which gives me great confidence as a leader of our city, via my recognition of these factors coming into play at this time. With experience and knowledge of how the budget really looks, how the process works, and the players that facilitate it, I am already working to create a plan to utilize those funds and prepare our city for the new directions and opportunities that ARE coming with the end of this economic decline. We just cannot be caught into the trap of spending what we have for unnecessary projects and operations expenses.

There is a light at the end of this tunnel...and it's not another train as some would like you to believe. What I see in that light is a new attitude, new direction and new opportunities for all of us to capitalize upon. All it takes is teamwork by the full commission and staff.

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