Hialeah Bank Foreclosures Will Impact Census Count Next Year

by Peter Vernon on cities

Hialeah bank foreclosures will have a significant impact on the census count in the city next year, just like in every other area of the U.S. affected by foreclosures.

According to Robert Groves, director of the U.S. Census Bureau, many of the census questionnaires to be mailed out next year will end up in vacant foreclosed homes. He added that hiring more census workers to visit houses and check out whether families are still living in certain street addresses will cost a lot of money.

Groves also explained that getting data from families who have left their homes to live with relatives will also be another challenge. The cases of moderate-income and middle class families who have become homeless are also now being addressed by census workers.

Groves said that in the last census count in 2000, 67 percent of households sent back completed questionnaires. He now expects that percentage to drop because of the current difficulties of families.

He also expects the census cost to increase sharply from the $14.7 billion spent in the last census period.

In Hialeah, where foreclosure properties still abound, local census workers will have more work on their hands next year. Currently, there are more than 3,000 Hialeah bank foreclosures for sale, accounting for 69 percent of available houses for sale in Multiple Listing Systems in the area. The rest of the more than 4,300 houses available for sale are new homes and previously owned homes.

Out of the more than 84,000 residential properties in Hialeah, 49 percent are occupied by homeowners and 48 percent are occupied by renters.

As Groves said, many of these foreclosed properties in Hialeah were formerly occupied by families who have left and moved to other areas as renters. Some have moved to cheap motels for temporary housing and others have been using the facilities of homeless shelters. Other families have moved in with relatives and close friends that have spaces to spare. These households would be among families that may not be reached by the census workers.

According to Groves, respondents hosting other families may not include information about their guests and may not write the correct number of people living in their homes.

Additionally, Groves said that unemployed people, transients and other financially troubled residents may not take the time to fill out forms. Indeed, the foreclosure crisis will certainly affect the census count in Hialeah.