Counting the Smallest Towns’ Residents
This AP story is one of the most enjoyable articles about the Census I’ve ever read. It explores how residents of very small towns respond to inaccuracies in Census tallies.
Many reports about the Census (like the Springfield News-Leader article I wrote about) stress the connection between Census data and funding for government programs. They include quotes anticipating dire things if participation is low and funding falls short. From this point of view, the larger the total the Census Bureau arrives at for your area’s population, the better.
What sets the AP’s article apart is that the people quoted in it are focused on accuracy. Whether the Census records eight or nine residents in a town doesn’t change federal appropriations. The difference matters only to people who want the numbers to be exactly correct, for truth’s sake. One woman is actually quoted complaining that the Census Bureau states there are two residents in her town, when in fact she alone lives there. I haven’t seen any other calls for the Bureau to revise its numbers downward.