Today the U.S. Census Bureau released the first results of the 2020 U.S. Census. No, today’s statistics will not tell you the names of your relatives nor any information about where anyone lived. You will have wait to wait another 72 years for that information. (I can hardly wait until the year 2092!)
What today’s report did reveal was the TOTAL number of U.S. residents counted, as specified by the U.S. Constitution. We are now 331 million strong! (The exact number is 331,449,184.)
That 7.4% increase was the second-slowest ever recorded. Experts say that paltry pace reflects the combination of an aging population, slowing immigration and the scars of the Great Recession, which led many young adults to delay marriage and starting families.
Today’s report also delivered (1) analyses that compare the first census results to other ways of measuring the population, and (2) metrics that provide insight into the census operations.
“Despite all the challenges of the pandemic, the completeness and accuracy of these first 2020 Census results are comparable with recent censuses,” said Census Bureau Acting Director Ron Jarmin. “We had numerous quality checks built into collecting the data, and we have conducted one of the most comprehensive reviews in recent census history during data processing. We are confident that today’s 2020 Census results meet our high data quality standards.”
The census release marks the official beginning of the once-a-decade redistricting battles. The next few months should be interesting as our two largest political parties fight gerrymandering battles. (See Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerrymandering for a rather detailed description of the creation and history of gerrymandering.)
Today’s numbers generally chart familiar American migration patterns but also confirm one historic marker: For the first time in 170 years of statehood, California is losing a congressional seat, a result of slowed migration to the nation’s most populous state, which was once a symbol of the country’s expansive frontier.
One other factor in today’s report caught my eye: Congressional seats. Texas was the biggest winner — the second-most populous state added two congressional seats, while Florida and North Carolina gained one. States losing seats included Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia
If New York had counted 89 more residents, the state would have kept its seat and Minnesota would have lost one.
You can learn a lot more at the 2020 Census: Operational Quality Metrics at: https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/interactive/2020-census-operational-quality-metrics.html.