U.S. Census Says 2010 Population Count More Accurate Than 2000

The decennial population count in the U.S. last year was measurably better than the previous nationwide tally, said the head of the Census Bureau, citing internal preliminary figures.

“The vast majority of quality indicators of the 2010 Census remain positive and suggest a measurable improvement over the 2000 Census,” Robert Groves, director of the federal agency, said today at a news conference in Washington. “We expect these results to hold up.” He said the improvement came, in part, because a higher percentage of households returned forms in 2010.

The Census Bureau will roll out in February and March detailed block-level data needed to redraw congressional districts. That information will be loaded into mapping software, and states will begin forming new districts over the following months. The state figures will also include data on the race and ethnicity of voting-age residents.

“This is really the substance of the census,” Groves said, referring to the state data to be released before April 1. “We are now delivering. We’ve been asking you and the rest of the public to give us things last year. This is the return.” He would not say which state data will be released first. He added that the census bureau is “sensitive to the needs of the redistricting schedules” of the states.

The population in the world’s largest economy grew 9.7 percent to 308,745,538 in 2010, from the previous decade, with the fastest gains coming in the South and West, the agency said last month. Groves said staff reviews from the 2000 Census revealed a “small net overcount” and reviews so far of the latest census “were heartwarming.”

“So far this is looking good,” Groves said about 2010 count. “We’re quite pleased,” he said.

The final results measuring the accuracy of the 2010 Census won’t be available until next year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Timothy R. Homan in Washington at thoman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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