Parts and Wholes

If one were to look for Whitewater’s population, the U.S. Census Bureau’s report from 2010 would say it was 14,390, and that same bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey would say it was 15,040.

Let’s call the total population 15,000, at least for a moment.  Expressed this way, Whitewater seems like one place of a certain size.

I think that’s an inaccurate view of Whitewater – as one thing of a certain size – although there is a huge investment in what’s left of Whitewater’s political class to describe the city that way.

The truth, however, is that it’s more accurate to say that Whitewater is less one thing, one creature, and more like two or more creatures living in each other’s midst.  For other posts along these lines, see, The Meaning of Whitewater’s Not-Always-Mentioned Demographics and A Small But Diverse City, Seldom Described That Way.

Springer spaniels weigh about forty pounds, and Great Danes weigh about one-hundred thirty pounds.  Add them up, and that’s a one-hundred seventy-five pound dog.

But, of course, they’re not a one-hundred seventy-five pound dog at all.  They’re two dogs, of different sizes.  They have decidedly different needs.

Nor can one combine how much each weighs, divide by two, and thereby determine what kind of animal they are.  Doing that, one would conclude that the composite dog is a medium-sized animal, somewhere in the middle:

Springer spaniels and Great Danes added together do not make a bigger dog, nor do they make a medium-sized dog.  They’re two separate creatures.

We’ve been describing Whitewater, far too much, as one creature, but the city is composed of several demographics that want different things, and thus combine for a common goal only sometimes.

Tomorrow: Data Around Whitewater’s Size.

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7 years ago

You are spot on. I often look at school district enrollment and compare to other districts for a more accurate reflection of the city’s population.