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Census breakdowns released for Jefferson, Berkeley counties

May 18, 2001

Census breakdowns released for Jefferson, Berkeley counties



By JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

The mystery of Shepherdstown's declining population may be solved.

Shepherdstown officials were alarmed in March when Census 2000 reported the town's population fell from 1,287 people in 1990 to 803 in 2000.

The reported drop is expected to cost the town about $20,000 in video lottery revenue from Charles Town Races that is disbursed to Jefferson County and its municipalities, said Shepherdstown Mayor Jim Auxer.

The new Census figures immediately were used in the gambling revenue distribution formula, which is based on population, he said.

More Census 2000 data released this week shows the census didn't account for Shepherd College dormitory residents in the town.

Shepherd College President David Dunlop said it's possible the students were on spring break when Census takers were in the area last spring.

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The college has 1,000 students in dormitories, although not all of the dorms are in the town's limits, Dunlop said.

The Census 2000 data released this week is an abbreviated version of the demographic profile expected to be released in June.

For example, it states how many people lived in noninstitutionalized group quarters, but did not break down the category to show how many were living in dorms, military quarters and group homes. Institutionalized group quarters include correctional facilities and nursing homes.

Census 2000 shows zero people living in noninstitutionalized group quarters in Shepherdstown in 2000, compared with 494 people in 1990.

"They didn't count them, obviously," Auxer said.

Auxer said town officials will analyze the Census 2000 demographic data and determine what action to take.

The population count can be appealed to the U.S. Census Bureau with supported documentation, said a spokesman with the bureau who didn't want to be named.

Even if the town appeals and is successful, it won't get that $20,000 back because it will have already been distributed to other towns, Auxer said.

The town uses the gaming revenue to help pay off loans and for capital improvements, including equipment for the police department and public works, he said.

The newly released Census data also shows significant increases in the Eastern Panhandle's populations of senior citizens, unmarried couples co-habitating and people living alone.

For more information about Census 2000, visit www.census.gov.

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