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Columbia Missourian

Census figures paint a new picture of Columbia

By Emily Roman
April 17, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
2010 census figures paint a new picture of Columbia.

COLUMBIA — When the U.S. Census Bureau published data for the state of Missouri several weeks ago, the staff at ColumbiaMissourian.com got to work. We combed through, analyzed and sorted the data every which way to find stories that would tell us how our community has changed.

The census data, along with statistics from the American Community Survey from 2005 through 2009, are the foundation for this special section, which we hope will help readers understand the implications of the statistics, particularly for those living in Columbia and Boone County.

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With Columbia exceeding the 100,000-person mark, the city has seen a number of changes throughout the past decade, including an increase in poverty and unemployment as well as a 115-percent jump in the Hispanic population.

The city and state will also be faced with the task of redrawing political boundaries. Meanwhile, Columbia Public Schools is preparing to redraw school attendance zones to account for the construction of Muriel Williams Battle High School. Census data is only one source of the information it uses. At the state level, the Missouri House and Senate are working to approve a state redistricting plan that will eliminate one congressional district. The plan on the table would make Columbia and Boone County part of a new 4th District that would include much of central and western Missouri.

Along with photos and graphics, these articles paint at least part of the picture of how Columbia has changed and hint at the challenges the community will face throughout the next 10 years.