Census 2000: Politics and Statistics

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Census 2000: Politics and Statistics 32 U. Tol. L. Rev. 19 (2000)

The authors take a pro-sampling viewpoint.

Key Quotes and Arguments

  • "Who could oppose better census numbers for the nation? The answer is political officials who believe that a more accurate count does not serve their best interests. They point to the constitutional language demanding an "actual enumeration," and claim that sampling is unscientific and can be manipulated." (liberal bias)
  • "This use of sampling not only should produce more accurate census numbers for a wide range of purposes, it is also a way to control census costs, which have almost tripled since 1990."
  • "Democrats in Congress share some blame in this controversy as well. They have exaggerated the impact of the census errors, large though they may be, in much the same way that the Republicans have tried to minimize them."
  • "Currently, authority for taking the census, and, thus, over the use of sampling to improve the count, rests with the Secretary of Commerce, a political official. We need legislation to insulate the Census Bureau from political manipulation and to restore its authority to manage the technical details of how to fulfill the constitutional mandate for a census."
That legislation does not exist. Even worse, the White House is taking over a task which is not its responsibility.
  • "The use of sampling to improve the "traditional" census enumeration process should not be a partisan issue, but a professional decision based on professional expertise and judgment. This expertise resides largely in the Census Bureau and in the professional groups that regularly advise it."