[APG Public List] Census

Richard A. Pence richardpence at pipeline.com
Fri Sep 25 14:09:17 MDT 2009

Judy Newman "J.O.S. N." <judynewman at gmail.com> wrote:

> Last week I was at a Constitution Day Program and because we have a census
> year coming up and because the census is one of the few activities 
> mandated
> in the constitution the census was the topic.
> We have all heard about the census undercounts in recent years but what
> fascinated me was the size of the overcount. As genealogists we are all
> familiar with people who appear twice in the same census because of moving
> or temporarily away from home. According to the census representative on 
> the
> panal the estimated overcount is nearly as large as the estimated
> undercount. Apparently people with second homes receive a form at their
> second home as well as their primary home and many return both forms.

While the Constitution does mandate a population count, it doesn't specify 
methodology. Statisticians and demographers have long claimed, probably 
correctly, that they can give us a more accurate population count than 
trying to do it as we now do. Unfortunately, this is politically 
unacceptable to some - for the undercounts usually are in urban areas and 
the over in more affluent areas (two homes, etc.). The former vote Democrat 
and the latter Republican.

And, I suppose, from a genealogical standpoint, it is a good thing that the 
more accurate methodology isn't used. If it were, then future genealogists 
would have one less tool to work with. And, surely, the census information 
is not as critical, given the wide variety of other records about today's 
people. The trick will be to maintain access to these other records.

Richard Pence

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