California: Give or Take 1.5 Million People

I'm looking forward to a year in which state and localities argue with the Census Bureau about their populations ahead of the all-important decennial ...
by | December 28, 2009
 

I'm looking forward to a year in which state and localities argue with the Census Bureau about their populations ahead of the all-important decennial count. There's a great example of that coming out of California. From the Sacramento Bee:

Federal and state demographers have conducted a polite argument over California's population for nearly a decade and now are more than 1.5 million persons apart - a dispute that may be settled by the 2010 census.

Last week, the state Department of Finance estimated that California had gained 353,000 residents during the 12-month period that ended on June 30 and that its population stood at 38.5 million. On Wednesday, the Census Bureau said the state gained 381,000 residents during that same period but had just under 37 million residents.

The dispute centers on how many people moved from California to other states during the decade. The Census Bureau says it detected a large out-migration while the state's demographers believe that the outflow was much smaller. Both agencies use indirect indicators, such as driver's licenses, income tax filings, to make their estimates.

It never ceases to amuse me how difficult it is to figure out how many Americans there are and where precisely they live.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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