[Hpn] Report Presses for Adjusted Census Data

coh coh@sfo.com
Tue, 03 Jul 2001 14:10:30 -0700


http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010702/us/census_sampling_2.html

Monday July 2 7:15 PM ET

Report Presses for Adjusted Data

By GENARO C. ARMAS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The 2000 head count missed more people in counties with
larger minority populations, said a Democratic-backed report released Monday
that pressed for the release of adjusted census data.

Bronx County in New York topped the list with 2.7 percent of the county's
population missed, according to estimates from members appointed by former
President Clinton (news - web sites) to the U.S. Census Monitoring Board, an
oversight panel.

Hidalgo County, Texas, located on the U.S-Mexico border, had the second
highest undercount rate at an estimated 2.4 percent.

Associate Census Bureau (news - web sites) director John Thompson
immediately questioned the accuracy of the report, which was based on 2000
census figures but not backed by the bureau or members appointed by
congressional Republicans.

The report said the census raw count missed 6.4 million people, primarily
minorities, the poor and children.

Thompson countered that an adjustment of census data using statistical
sampling could have made up for an estimated undercount of 4.3 million
people, but about half of those missed would have been non-Hispanic white.

It was the latest move by Democrats demanding that the Bush administration
release adjusted data.

``Taxpayers paid more than $6.5 billion for the census and they deserve to
see all the census results,'' said Gilbert Casellas, co-chair for the
Democratic board members.

In March, Commerce Secretary Don Evans agreed with a bureau recommendation
against an adjustment of census figures for purposes of redrawing
congressional, state and local legislative districts.

There were too many discrepancies - between adjusted data, the actual 2000
head count and a third survey used to measure accuracy - to allow the
release of sampled numbers, the bureau said.

Left undecided is whether adjusted data can be used for purposes other than
redistricting, including the distribution of more than $185 billion in
federal dollars to states and localities. The bureau said it would decide by
autumn.

``Why they risk confusing the public with population guesses that obscure
the real Census is a mystery best explained by politics, not science,'' said
David Murray, a GOP board member.

The report estimated undercounts for counties with over 500,000 people. The
county with the largest estimated numerical undercount was Los Angeles
County, Calif., with 176,047 people missed.

After the report's release, Casellas sent a letter to Senate Democrats
renewing complaints that the board's final report to Congress this fall
could be based on incomplete figures because of bureau proposals that would
restrict oversight.

The board is scheduled to disband in September.

Thompson also said Monday that the bureau report on homeless shelters to be
released this fall would include figures down to the ``census tract,'' one
of the smallest levels of census geography.

But it will not include data on people counted in soup kitchens or those
sleeping on the streets. Several Democrats and local city officials have
said they thought those figures would also be released.

The bureau would consider making the additional data public ``if there was
some kind of need or necessity for it, but right now it's not in the
plans,'' Thompson said.

The agency's plans for releasing homeless data were backed by the National
Coalition for the Homeless and other advocacy groups, he said.

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