Explanation of Service Area Population Figures

This page is an explanation of how service area population figures are determined for public libraries by our department. Data comes from the most recent American Community Survey (ACS) 5-Year Estimates from the Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/data.html). Here is a brief summary of the approach:

  • Libraries are allotted the population for any town/city that they receive tax support from.
  • If multiple libraries receive tax support from a town/city, the population is divided roughly based on the proportion of the tax support.
  • Villages who provide direct support are allotted to their supported library, and their population is removed from the town count for any other libraries.
  • Libraries who don’t receive tax support are listed with the full population of their town for informational purposes, but this isn’t divided with any other libraries in the town.
  • These numbers are primarily used for the public library annual report. You are free to use whatever numbers or calculation method you like for your own purposes.

If you notice errors or omissions, or have any questions, please contact Joshua Muse.

Service Area Population Files

The data is in an Excel file with three tabs:

  • Service Areas (1st tab) – Shows the total number for each library, and the towns and percentages that make it up.
  • Population Formulas (2nd tab) – Shows the formulas for each library.
  • By Town (3rd tab) – Lists each town, and the libraries that they support.