- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 18, 2001

The Census Bureau, citing errors in statistically adjusted data, said yesterday it would not permit use of sampled population numbers to help distribute more than $185 billion in federal aid to state and local governments.
Acting Census Bureau Director William Barron said at a news conference yesterday his agency would have to conduct additional research before determining if there would be any public release of the adjusted data.
But he did not give a time frame for such a decision.
The announcement means the federal government now will use the numbers from the actual 2000 count to disburse the U.S. dollars, which support a host of social programs including Medicaid and foster care.
Bureau officials had weighed whether adjusting population figures with statistical sampling would improve the already completed head count.
Most Democrats and activist groups said sampling would be better, by offering a better tally of minorities, the poor and children.
Republicans said sampling would insert more errors into a 2000 census that already was better than the one in 1990, because of a lower national net undercount. They also have said that while adjustment may count people originally missed, it may not place them in the correct neighborhoods.
The bureau had said there was a net national undercount of 1.2 percent of the country's 281 million people in 2000, or about 3.2 million. The 1990 undercount was 1.6 percent, or about 4 million then.
But Mr. Barron said yesterday that current estimates showed the net undercount in 2000 was reduced to less than 1 percent.
The decision was made by career Census Bureau professionals, officials said, and came as Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans was in Russia for his first foreign trade mission.
The Census Bureau is a part of the Commerce Department.
The bureau faced a similar decision in March, and recommended against adjusted data as the basis for redrawing congressional, state and local political districts.
There were too many discrepancies between adjusted data, the actual count and a third survey used to measure accuracy, and not enough time for further analysis, Mr. Barron said then. Mr. Evans agreed.
House Republicans praised the earlier decision, which angered Democrats and civil rights groups.
Groups such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors also supported sampling, which could boost population figures for cities with larger minority populations and, likewise, federal dollars into those cities.

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