I wanted to pass this on to the listserv:
I work for the Tompkins County Planning Department in Upsate, NY.
When I first looked at the Block level populations this year, I noticed
numerous discrepancies, which turned out to be dorm population
counts which were incorrectly georeferenced. We have 2
universities here in Ithaca, NY, Cornell University and Ithaca
College. In our case, the entire dorm population for Cornell (5,700
students) was put in ONE BLOCK - not in the 14 blcoks where the
dorms are actually located. For example, a block that had a 1990
population of 1100 now has a 2000 pop of 2 and a block that had a
1990 pop of 110 now has a 2000 pop of 5882. For Ithaca College,
the dorm population was placed all in 1 block, not in the 4 blocks
where the dorms are actually located. To make things more
complicated, the Cornell Block discrepancies go across municipal
boundaries (from the City of Ithaca to the Town of Ithaca) and
across four of our current Legislative Districts [see attachement
with PDF map].
When I brought this up to the Regional Census Geography dept in
Boston, they were not that surprised and said they were seeing this
all over the country. The New York State Data Center in Albany
says they have had this complaint all over New York State.
In any case, we have noted the dorm capacities and redistributed
the block populations as we think they should be and will submit for
a change through the Census Bureau's Question Resolution
Program, which starts in July. We also have gone ahead with our
2001 Reapportionment for Tompkins County pending the Census
Bureau's approval of the changes.
My questions are:
1) How many of the MPOs are experiencing the same problem?
2) I am concerned that we can estimate the Census errors and
change the Block populations, but ONLY THE CENSUS Bureau
knows the exact number of students who were in those dorms and
their ATTRIBUTES. Only the Census can move those attributes -
i.e. those 5,700 student incomes and journey-to-work responses,
etc. It seems to me that all the long form data that comes out next
year will be skewed - unless they deal with this issue. Which will
probably only happen if the issue is as wide spread as I have been
made to believe.
So what are you all seeing in this regard?
Tompkins County Planning Department
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