Compounding the Error? Evaluation of the U.S. Census Bureau’s County Population Estimates

Mike E. Cline , North Carolina Office of State Budget & Management

Population estimates are used for a variety of purposes. They serve as a basis for the calculation of a variety of population based rates, provide information on population trends that aid in the development of forecasts for infrastructure needs, and are indirectly used in formulas that distribute federal and state money to local communities. The purpose of this research is to understand how select characteristics of counties may result in under- or over-estimation of county population, either due to inherit biases in indicator data or due to other county related characteristics that make population estimation difficult (such as significant seasonal populations). The 2010 and 2000 Census Bureau county population estimates are evaluated relative to their respective decennial census counts.

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 Presented in Session 3. Population, Development, & the Environment; Data & Methods; Applied Demography