Census study affirms NJ’s big 2020 population gain was for real
TRENTON – New Jersey’s larger-than-expected population count from the 2020 Census has been deemed accurate by the Census Bureau, which did a study of every state’s tally.
The survey, which it does after every census, finds that 14 states’ counts are probably statistically inaccurate – with eight states overcounted and six states undercounted. But New Jersey, which had the nation’s biggest variation from its pre-census estimate, around 400,000, wasn’t among them.
For the Post-Enumeration Survey, the Census Bureau did follow-up interviews with 114,000 households around the country and compared their answers to the official count to estimate its accuracy.
"No census is perfect," Census Bureau Director Robert Santos said in a webinar. "And the PES allows us to become more informed about the 2020 census by estimating what portion of the population was correctly counted, where we missed people and where some people were counted that shouldn't have been."
New Jersey was among the more than two-thirds of states whose 2020 population counts have been deemed statistically accurate by the Census Bureau. But Tim Kennel, assistant division chief for statistical methods, said the survey finds eight states were overcounted and six were undercounted.
“Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas had statistically significant undercounts,” Kennel said. “Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Utah had statistically significant overcounts.”
New Jersey seems to have had the second smallest statistic miscount, closer than any state but New Mexico.
That’s not to say the count here was perfect, but duplicates and omissions basically offset. It nets to an estimated undercount of about 11,000 people, or 0.12%.
Some states were off by more than 5% – short by that much in Arkansas, too high by that much in Delaware, Hawaii and Rhode Island.
The survey is not going to change the allocation of House seats or redistricting data. It could alter the distribution of $1.5 trillion a year in federal aid.
Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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