NYC
11/03/2011 04:43 pm ET Updated Jan 03, 2012

NYC 2-Square Miles Smaller, According To Census Bureau

New York just got a wee bit smaller.

After declaring the city's land area to be at 304.8 square miles in 2008, 17 square miles smaller than previous figures used for decades prior, the Census Bureau is challenging the Department of City Planning's number and saying New York's area to actually be 302.643 square miles.

A geographer for the Census Bureau explains the discrepancy in calculations to The New York Times:

We have made our digital data more accurate and more complete, and that has impacted the area figures in many areas. In some cases — annexations, for example — cities have gained land through legal action. In other cases, just our digital representation of what the boundary is and what area is land versus water within the boundary may have changed. This is not to say that these areas have really lost or gained land, but our digital representation has changed, therefore the numbers have changed.

So who incurred the most shrinkage? Brooklyn and Queens!

This isn't the first time the city and the Census Bureau have disagreed on number games. Earlier this year, Mayor Bloomberg questioned the bureau's estimate citing 8.175 million New Yorkers, a relatively big step down from the 8.4 million city officials recorded.

The numbers don't account for 170,000 new homes built in New York in the last decade and they improbably count just 1,300 new residents in Queens since 2000. There are not a lot of vacant homes in this city. In Queens, common sense says we didn't go up by [only] 1,000 people.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said he was "flabbergasted" and that he knew the Census Bureau had made a "big, big mistake."