Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Some census common sense

Maurreen Skowran of the Raleigh News & Observer sent along this reminder to members of the American Copy Editors Society's Southeast chapter, and it's worth noting here:

This might be timely, considering the immigration bills.

There is a problem in comparing census numbers for Hispanics from before and after the 2000 census.

In 1990, the census had a larger undercount than in 2000, and the undercount for Hispanics was even worse.

Estimates for 1991 through 1999 are all based on the 1990 census.

For example, here are some numbers for North Carolina.

Year N.C. Hispanics
1995 118,966
1999 175,707
2000 391,431
2004 527,484

According to these figures:
From 1995 to 1999, over four years, the growth was 56,741, a rate of 48 percent
From 1999 to 2000, over one year, the growth was 215,724, a rate of 123 percent.
From 2000 to 2004, over four years, the growth was 136,053, a rate of 35 percent.
- Maurreen Skowran

Just another reminder that handling numbers requires common sense.

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