US miscounts population, costing one party Congress seats and funding — Analysis

The US Census Bureau has released a report revealing significant population miscounts in 14 states – only after the erroneous figures were used to divvy up congressional representation and federal funding parameters for the next decade.

According to the Census Bureau’s follow-up survey, Arkansas had a net overcount of 5%. Hawaii was at 6.8%. Democrats are in control of all but one state with an overcount exceeding 22%. Republicans control all four states that have undercounts greater than 2%.

About one in 20 residents of Arkansas and Tennessee weren’t counted in the 2020 census. Undercounts also were large enough in Florida and Texas – at 3.5% and 1.9%, respectively – to cost the two states congressional seats.

Hawaii, Delaware, and Rhode Island each received credit for having more than 20 correctly counted residents. New York and Minnesota also saw significant overcounts at 3.8% and 3.4% respectively. Utah, which was led by Republican John McCain, had the largest overcount at 2.6%. Minnesota and Rhode Island were reportedly prevented from losing their congressional seats by overcounts.

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Because the Census counts are used for federal funding and political representation, the stakes can be high. The numbers are locked in as the population basis for each state until the 2030 census, even though they’re now known to be erroneous in light of the follow-up analysis.  

“These statistical products cannot be used to change the final census count but are useful in assessing the current census, determining how best to estimate the population between now and 2030 and helping to improve future censuses,”The Census Bureau stated.

There was no explanation from the bureau as to how mistakes were made in those 14 states where there had been significant miscounts. The follow-up survey after America’s 2010 census showed that no states had statistically significant miscounts.

These miscounts proved to be large numerically. In 2020, for example, 325,000 Tennesseans were missed and 550,000 Texans were not included in the count. The census gave New York credit for more than 670,000 residents who don’t exist, and Minnesota’s population was inflated by 215,000. President Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware, which had the second-highest overcount rate at 5.5%, got the benefit of more than 50,000 extra residents.



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