Autumn on Lake Audobon

Autumn on Lake Audobon
Autumn on Lake Audubon, Photo by Alison Kamat

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Reston Getting Smaller?, Reston Connection, January 25, 2011, Alex McVeigh

Survey suggests population has gone down in past five years.

Most groups planning for the future of Reston are concerned with making sure there are enough schools, roads and other infrastructure for what is projected to be a growing population. But according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Reston might have gotten smaller in the past decade.

The American Community Survey, a five-year population estimate for Reston for the years 2005-2009, estimated a population of 53,759, which is almost 3,000 fewer people than the 2000 census data, which was 56,407. . . .
Read the rest of this article here.  

Although I'm quoted in this article, the quotes do not reflect fully my skepticism about the accuracy of the survey numbers compared with the 2000 census quoted above.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics began surveying communities Reston's size on a three-year basis in 2005 as part of its annual American Community Survey.  It produced several overlapping 3-year surveys and, most recently, the 5-year.  Here are the tallies for Reston's population since the 2000 census.


ACS5YrACS 3 Yr Surveys------------  Census

  2005-9       2007-9     2006-8  2005-7    2000
Households  23,831  24,39324,096   23,348  23,320
Population  53,468  55,80153,304   50,690  56,407
Pers/HH    2.24   2.29  2.21     2.17    2.42 

The key point from this brief table is that it the 2005-7 ACS survey--the first for Reston--shows a 6,000 person drop in Reston's population from the 2000 census.  I do not believe this is anywhere near accurate.

Each of the two subsequent 3-year ACS surveys show significant gains in Reston's population from that first survey.  The 5-year survey appears to be roughly an average of the three 3-year surveys--and doesn't reflect any new data.   I strongly suspect that the 5,000 person gain reflected over the 3-year surveys in the last five years are close to correct and ought to be added to the 2000 census levels for the last five years.  I would suspect the first half of the decade showed similar 1,000 persons/year gains.

In short, I suspect Reston's population is now in the mid-60,000s.  I certainly don't believe we're shrinking.  We'll see when the full census results are available!

Terry Maynard
Reston 2020 Committee

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