The latest data released by the US Census Bureau confirmed what most Summit County residents already know: The community is growing, and so is its Hispanic population, but its housing stock continues to fall behind, causing problems. to the local workforce.
The data has been released so that the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission can continue the process of redrawing the legislative maps of Congress and states. His results for Summit County show the gap between the number of people residing in the community and the available housing units.
The county’s total population stood at 31,055, a jump of almost 11% from its number of 27,994 in 2010. Only 1,500 homes were added to the market during the same period, an increase by 5%.
Brianne Snow, executive director of the Family & Intercultural Resource Center, said she has witnessed this unbalanced growth.
“I’ll say we’re seeing more crowded housing situations – unsafe housing situations – than we’ve had in years and years, (like) families living in the living room of (some houses) because they can’t pay the rent, (or) two families of five living in a two-bedroom condo, ”Snow said. “These situations that we are seeing more than ever before.”
Snow said she didn’t think some of the data was completely accurate, such as the number of vacant homes in the county. According to the data, the county has a total of 31,342 housing units, of which nearly 59% are vacant. This is relatively the same as the 2010 data, which indicated that about 61% of the county’s housing stock was vacant.
“I think we’ve filled a lot of these homes with people,” Snow said. “I don’t think the vacancy rate is actually as high as the census reports… because it happened during COVID. I don’t think it changes the dynamics at all. There are a lot more people living here, so there are less stocks, there are fewer empty houses, but again, it is these people who have moved here who are not necessarily contributing to the workforce. ‘artwork.
Snow’s take is that most people filled out the census in the early and early stages of the pandemic, that is, when many people moved to the county. Snow believes that many newly arrived remote workers in the county are now living in these previously vacant units, removing that inventory from the pool for local labor that could have been turned into deed-restricted homes.
Snow said there was a high number of vacant units as well, as a large number of second home owners only use these properties for perhaps only a few weeks throughout the year.
Housing stock and overall population aren’t the only data that tells a story. Data from 2020 also shows that the county’s Hispanic population has grown by nearly 34% since 2010. Again, Snow said she believed that number was not representative of new community members moving to the region. Summit County, but instead offsets the low number in 2010.
“I have the opinion that I don’t think the 2010 census data was actually very accurate,” Snow said. “I think there were a lot of unenumerated individuals and families just because they didn’t necessarily have the culturally competent means to involve people in the enumeration. I think in 2020, despite COVID, they did a much better job. Several organizations and entities around Summit County have helped. … We were really able to let people know that he was sure to be counted.
One of the people who helped lead this charge was Andrea Ridder. Ridder – who is now the spokesperson for the Summit School District – was previously the marketing and events coordinator for the resource center and helped involve the local Hispanic community in the conduct of the census. Ridder said there was some mistrust on the part of the local Hispanic community of completing the census, as well as simple communication barriers that needed to be addressed.
“I think we need to do a better job of communicating in a culturally relevant way. … We have a communication gap and I think that’s the other part. We have to meet people where they are and we have to do a better job at that. “
Some of the efforts to involve both populations in the community included distributing flyers to its food bank, social media posts, and radio advertisements.
The census is an important tool because it helps the government decide how to distribute funds and services, as well as the degree of representation that each state should have. For example, Colorado has a new congressional district because of the last settlements.
As for the amount of funding this could translate into for the county, neither representatives from the US Census Bureau nor from Summit County returned a request for comment in time for publication.