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Results from the 2010 census showed growth in Hardin County, which increased in population by 12.1 percent during the past 10 years to 105,543 residents. The national head count said Elizabethtown’s population leaped by 26.6 percent to 28,531 residents.
But Radcliff showed a population loss and Mayor J.J. Duvall doesn’t believe it.
The census recorded Radcliff as losing 1.2 percent of its population in the last 10 years, dropping to 21,688 residents.
Duvall is trying to track details behind the totals because he considers them wrong. He said building permits, additional traffic, changes at Fort Knox and annexations during the past decade have led him to question the results.
“We don’t feel like we’ve lost by any means,” he said. “We feel like we’ve gained.”
Duvall said he doesn’t know if everyone in Radcliff turned in census paperwork and that might have been a contributing factor.
Mostly, he thinks ZIP codes could be at fault.
Radcliff extends south into areas designed as 42701 because the residences are served by the post office in Elizabethtown. Duvall does not know whether the Kentucky Secretary of State office’s information reflects those changes.
He sent a message Friday to Frankfort asking how the Census Bureau gathered its information and whether the ZIP codes could have caused a mistake. No immediate response was available.
Elizabethtown Mayor Tim Walker said the same ZIP code confusion sometimes happens with insurance premium taxes.
Walker said he doesn’t think Elizabethtown’s count will be changed much if the Census Bureau re-evaluates its findings.
County and city officials can’t take their population counts lightly because that information is an important factor in federal and sometimes state funding.
Mike Burress, deputy director of the Lincoln Trail Area Development District, said money for programs such as Medicare and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development programs in which Elizabethtown participates, rely heavily on population and demographic information when distributing money.
That might mean less in the short term if representatives decide to cut money from programming, as is being considered at the federal level. Conversely, population growth might mean a few more dollars coming to the area, Burress said.
“It’s one of those deals where population means money,” he said.
Additionally, Duvall said businesses and people thinking about moving to Radcliff often check Census Bureau information to get a sense of what the city is like and that information should be accurate.
Burress said area officials are combing the new numbers to get a deeper understanding of the current population and the best ways to serve it.
“It will be interesting to see what kind of changes have taken place and what we can anticipate based on that information,” he said.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or email@example.com.