JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Census Undercounts #general

Nick <tulse04-news@...>

"Bob Wexler" <rwexler@...> wrote
All the discussion regarding undercounts, missing people, getting info
from neighbors, etc. seems to indicate a misunderstanding of the reason
for the US census in the first place... it was *not* to document people
for the benefit of future genealogists, but rather for the reapportionment
of Congress every ten years. Later with the rise of various governmental
aid programs and planning program requirements, other uses have been made
of the data.

In all of these uses, the only data of value is aggregate numbers. The raw
data is factored using a very elaborate set multipliers, then 'sliced and
diced' in a myriad of ways. The accuracy of individual names
and their answers is just not relevant for the purposes for which the data
is/was used... and is/was collected.
Whilst I am sure that Bob is correct regarding the original purpose of the
Census, I very much doubt though that full coverage was not seen as an

More recently I have found that a U.S. Census Monitoring Board was set up to
"observe and monitor all aspects of the preparation and implementation of
the 2000 decennial census" which in its report to Congress of 1 February 1999 acknowledged
that the 1990 Census was a disaster. The report said that more than 8
million were missed in 1990 and 4 millions were counted twice.

It says that the resulting net undercount of more than four million was
comprised disproportionately of racial and ethnic minorities and children.

The NAS (National Academy of Support) supported the view that it was
impossible to produce an accurate or complete count using traditional
methods of census enumeration (because 16 percent of the population change
their residence each year).

A household survey was proposed to supplement the Census.

It notes that "The original plan for the 2000 census called for the use of
scientific estimation only as a supplemental means of finding those people
who do not respond to traditional census methods."

I think that >from this it is apparent that at the highest level of the US
Government there was a concern about the inaccuracies and lack of coverage
of the Census in specific groups (particularly the disabled).

Nick Landau
London, UK

COHNREICH (Anklam, Germany Krajenka, Poland) ATLAS (Wielkie Oczy (near
Lvov/Lemberg), Poland) WEITZMAN (Cracow), WECHSLER(Schwabach, Germany)
KOHN/WEISSKOPF (Wallerstein and Kleinerdlingen,Germany) LANDAU (only adopted
on leaving Belarus or later)/FREDKIN (?) (Gomel, Mogilev, Chernigov, Belarus)

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