Head Count: Wolfforth relies on U.S. Census Bureau numbers this year

In 1990, the number was 1,941.

By 2000, it was 2,554. That’s the number that is still on the sign as you come into Wolfforth.

The city is growing, and has been for decades. When the census is completed this year, City Secretary Debbie Youngblood estimates the city will have between 3,350 and 3,400 residents, based on the number of water meters in the city.

But the number that will be on the sign is more than a statistic for those passing through Wolfforth on U.S. 62/82.

Eventually it will change the way Wolfforth conducts city business.

The city is currently a general law city because it is less than 5,000 in population. When Wolfforth hits 5,000, it will become a home rule city, City Manager Darrell Newsom said.

As a general law city, Wolfforth cannot annex properties contiguous to its borders unless the owners request to be annexed, Newsom said. But as a home rule city, it can annex cities without that request.

To its east and north, Wolfforth cannot grow north of 66th Street or east of Alcove Avenue because of an agreement with Lubbock.

To the south and west though, Wolfforth has room to grow. On a drive through the city’s growing subdivisions, Newsom said at some point in the future, what is now central and western Wolfforth could be the east side of town. The town could eventually grow two miles west to the county line, he said.

The city adopted a 20-year comprehensive plan in June 2009. That plan estimates that Wolfforth’s population could exceed 12,000 by 2030.

Census numbers help the community to come up with more exact planning data, but they are also required for any federal project the city gets involved in, Newsom said.

“The census is important to every entity in this area,” he said. “I don’t know that we’ll have anyone around here that’ll be real hesitant.

“So many programs are based on that number, on that information.”

But Wolfforth poses a particular problem to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Originally, we didn’t have mail delivery to the streets,” said Newsom. “A lot of people in Wolfforth still go to the post office.”

Josh Silva, a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, said that could be a problem because the Census Bureau does not mail to post office boxes because of privacy issues.

“That’s one thing the census is very sensitive for,” he said.

Those residents who receive mail at home will get the census form at home.

“But otherwise, it’ll be hand-carried by a census worker,” said Silva, noting that some rural residents will have the same issue.

Those residents should expect a visitor to come around with a census form in the next few months.

Silva said residents should ask to see the census bureau badge for workers, and if they have any suspicions about the worker, ask for a supervisor’s name and number to confirm that the worker is legitimate.

“Actual census work will begin next month — the middle of next month,” Silva said.

Census forms are due by April 1, known as Census Day, Silva said. Since each form has a bar code on it, he said the bureau will know if an expected form has not made it in, and workers will be dispatched again to try to get the forms filled out.

As for the form itself, Silva said it is easy and contains no personal questions.

“It’s easy. It’s 10 questions. It’ll take 10 minutes, and it’ll affect us for the next 10 years,” he said.

Although he said the questions are not personal, Silva said they will not be released by the government for 72 years.

Newsom said the city is also working to set up a few points where people can stop by to fill out census forms if they don’t get one in the mail, “probably at the Goodwill and at the (Wolfforth) library.”

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