Area city/county population
• Liberty County: 63,453
• Hinesville: 33,437
• Allenhurst: 695
• Flemington: 743
• Fort Stewart: 4,924 • Gum Branch: 264
• Midway: 2,121 • Riceboro: 809
• Walthourville: 4,111
Source: city of Hinesville
The 2010 Census numbers show Liberty County and its cities have increased in population. Liberty County has a population of 63,453, and Hinesville has a population of 33,437, according to the 2010 census. In 2000, the county had just over 61,000 people and Hinesville had 30,392 residents, according to the census.
However, city and county officials say the recently released census data is not accurate because an estimated 14,000 soldiers were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan from Fort Stewart last April, and therefore were not counted as local residents.
“Those soldiers were counted, but they were only counted to the apportionment of their individual state of record and are not part of the county numbers,” said Census Bureau Representative Lauren Lewis. Lewis supervises a 10-county area that includes Liberty, Bryan, Long, Effingham, Tattnall, Glynn, Evans, Chatham, McIntosh and Toombs counties.
Assistant County Administrator Bob Sprinkel and Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards worry the county and city may not receive as much federal or state funding as they would have had the census numbers been higher.
“It’s going to make things tougher. Everything we do is counted toward the census numbers,” Sprinkel said. “Even the amount of water the county is permitted to draw out of the aquifer is based on the census,” he said as way of illustration.
Census numbers impact funding for hospitals, schools and roads, Sprinkel said.
Edwards cautioned the census data has not yet been certified by Congress. Also, the city and county may want to further analyze the 2010 census data and correct any inaccuracies, he said.
“There were some census blocks in 2000 that had a zero count and we knew there were residents in those census blocks,” Edwards said.
Hinesville is categorized as a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) because of its population density, he said.
“You take all the census blocks that are adjacent to each other that have a population density of 1,000 persons per square mile and then you take the population blocks that have 500 persons per square mile; and if that total population exceeds 50,000 than you are an MSA,” Edwards explained.
Hinesville’s MSA covers Fort Stewart, Flemington, Allenhurst, Walthourville and unincorporated Liberty and Long counties, he said.
Sprinkel said the county participated in a “pre-census” in 2008 to help the U.S. Census Bureau “prepare for the 2010 census.”
“One of the things it allowed us was the right to appeal,” he said.
“I daresay it will be a topic of discussion at the county-wide planning session in April,” Sprinkel added.
He also praised 2010 Liberty County Census Coordinator Kathy Poole and the Complete Count Committee for their outreach efforts last year, saying their hard work and dedication helped put the county’s census numbers “in the positive column.”