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For Immediate Release:
Contact: Wick Caldwell

CMB Congressional Members Release Final Report – Analysis of Statistical Adjustment

Washington, DC – The Congressionally Appointed Members of the U.S. Census Monitoring Board today released an in-depth analysis of the Census Bureau’s attempts to make up for the problems of undercount in the Census by using statistical estimates.  In the two-part report, the Board’s analysis proved, through an exhaustive and scientific look at the Census 2000 Accuracy and Coverage Evaluation (A.C.E.), the process would not correct the undercount of severely undercounted neighborhoods.

The report also indicates that the outcomes (adjusted estimates of population) of statistical adjustment are based on unreliable, and changeable, assumptions.  The analysis indicates that the way in which the United States population is sub-divided (into post-strata) to measure for the undercount has many limitations and that changing only one assumption could have a dramatic effect on statistically adjusted census counts.   For instance, the research indicated that the difference between a statistically adjusted count for the Southern region produced by the A.C.E. was over half-a-million less than another equally valid estimate produced by the Board using a different post-strata.

According to A. Mark Neuman, Co-Chair for the Congressional Members, “What we have found is, contrary to popular belief, people missed in the Census don’t get put back in the neighborhoods where they really live. This leads me to think statistical adjustment may not be the best method to address the differential undercount. Severely undercounted neighborhoods, especially those in historically undercounted and minority communities, will remain severely undercounted. Statistical adjustment doesn’t fix that.”

The Board’s analysis also strongly suggests that the statistical adjustment process is not sensitive enough to local communities and neighborhoods.  The report raises several questions, including whether or not the process actually adds people to the wrong places.  This was evident both at the regional level and at the neighborhood level.  While most severely undercounted neighborhoods didn’t have their counts corrected, many overcounted neighborhoods would actually GAIN population under the A.C.E.

The Board’s report, the final report, is the culmination of months of research and evaluation of Census 2000 data and the A.C.E.

The U.S. Census Monitoring Board is a bipartisan panel created by Congress to oversee all aspects of the 2000 Census.  This report was produced by the congressionally appointed members.  Information regarding the Census Monitoring Board and the 2000 census can be found on our web page at www.cmbc.gov.