This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Still Haggling Over Census 2010

April 1st is the traditional "census day" in the United States every ten years (even if data collection is actually spread out over several months). So, the beginning of this April marks two years since the 2010 census in the US, and haggling over the results continues, although probably nearing an end. The New York Times has a story today that the City of New York has lost its bid to have its census count upped by 50,000 people that it claims the Census Bureau did not count.
The challenge centered on four neighborhoods — Astoria and Jackson Heights in Queens, and Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst in Brooklyn.The city said that the census, which placed the city’s total population at less than 8.2 million, had incorrectly concluded that homes and apartments in these areas were vacant.
In a response to Mr. Bloomberg in late March, Arnold A. Jackson, the acting chief of the bureau’s Decennial Management Division, acknowledged a minor error that had been addressed, but added that “this correction does not affect the total census population or housing unit counts for the City of New York.”

If you read the letter from the Census Bureau you will see that does not really address the issues raised by the city's demographers, so I suspect that this is not the end of the story. The Census Bureau has a vested interest in not acknowledging errors. It doesn't want a cascade of complaints from every municipality--especially in an era when the Bureau almost certainly lacks the budget to really investigate these issues. At the same time, every municipality is searching for every spare human in its count, in order to help it chase after ever more scarce state and federal funding. 
The NYC Planning Department did note that even if these people were added to the count, they would not change the congressional redistricting process--which is, of course, still being haggled over in various parts of the country.

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