Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Venetian curiousity

This picture of flooding in Venice last month reminded me about a previous story about how the population of Venice was falling because of constant flooding. If I Google “Venice population” I find this news story from 2009 in the Telegraph:

Official census figures show the city's permanent population was 59,984 as of last week.
The population has been sliding for years, from 174,000 in 1951 to 70,000 in 1996, prompting fears that the city's days as a sustainable community are numbered.

But many locals say that with the city besieged by an average of 55,000 tourists a day, residents are almost outnumbered by the day-tripping hordes.

One group of Venetians is to hold a "funeral" for the city once known as the Queen of the Adriatic.

A coffin symbolising the death of the city will be borne down the Grand Canal in a procession of three boats during a ceremony to be held on Nov 14.

It will be carried ashore and deposited outside the town hall, close to the famous Rialto Bridge.
Many Venetians are concerned that high property prices and rental costs are forcing ordinary people out of the city and draining it of normal life.

But the same search terms also return data from Google’s Public Data which shows the population of Venice has been rising. Since this data is in millions, I assume that the geographic area covered is larger than the city proper. A smaller geographic area is documented by Wikipedia which puts the population at 270,000 in 2009. (It also cites the 60,000 number in Venice as I think of it but it cites a news article rather than a statistical agency. A more recent NPR story is here (circa 2012) where the 60,000 number is also repeated.)

There is also a nice graphic here which sort of put my curiosity to rest although it lacks documentation on sources except for citing the city council of Venice. I find it a little perplexing that the raw data is so hard to come by not only because this is the age of the Internet but because Italy is supposedly an advanced economy.

Finding the population of Venice, Florida, however, was not as difficult.

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