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Census recount won’t alter Queens redistricting

Even if the U.S. Census Bureau decides to change the city’s population figures with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and borough officials contending the once-a-decade count was grossly inaccurate, it will not change how many House of Representatives seats the state will get through reapportionment, the Department of City Planning said Tuesday.

The census numbers released last month showed Queens only grew by 0.1 percent from 2,229,379 residents in 2000 to 2,230,722 in 2010.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall was one of many borough elected officials who said the Queens population was undercounted.

“Although my office formed a Complete Count Committee to increase participation in the census, I believe many in our immigrant population still did not participate in the count due, in part, to privacy issues and language barriers,” she said. “I believe that Queens has traditionally been undercounted and continues to be,” Marshall said. “I invite Census officials who believe that our population is stagnant to go on tour with me and discover the difference.”

In a March 27 visit to Jackson Heights, Bloomberg said the city would be filing a formal challenge of the census results. A spokeswoman for City Planning said the city expects to formally make the challenge by June at the earliest.

The spokeswoman said the city will be sending out teams of people to areas in Queens that the city believes were undercounted, such as Jackson Heights, Astoria and southeast Queens.

The spokeswoman also said a change in the results will not affect how many congressional seats the state receives through reapportionment.

The reapportionment process also redraws lines for state Senate and state Assembly districts.

Michael Krasner, a political science professor at Queens College, said that while the state is due to lose seats in the House because its population did not grow as fast as other states, it is hard to predict whether the losses will occur in the city, Long Island or upstate.

“It’s uncertain who’s going to get the fuzzy side of this lollipop,” Krasner said. “It’s not a simple process because that’s carried by the state Legislature. That is a highly political, highly partisan process.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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