Essay on To Count or Not to Count

Essay on To Count or Not to Count

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To count or not to count? Summary

The main purpose of the census is to provide data for reapportionment, the redistribution of the 435 seats of Congress among the 50 states, every ten years. Due to the Apportionment Act of 1929, there is a permanent method of distributing the constant 435 seats in the House of Representatives based on population. To be fair, each state receives one seat, but the remaining 385 is based on the census. The census, however, is not an accurate compilation of data as this counts both Americans overseas and non-citizens. The census will also suffer from undercount of the population because of failure to return forms, errors in filling them out, errors within the forms itself, having limited space for people, and errors in delivery. General apathy on behalf of the population is also a problem; this issues in partially filled forms, which counts as one person.
In order conduct the United States census, the Census Bureau sends forms to all known United States residents. These people fill out a questionnaire containing demographic information such as ethic origin, age, and number of residents in the household.
Despite inherent errors in the United States census, the undercount would not dramatically affect the apportionment of representatives in the House of Representatives. The overall percentage of residents undercounted in the United States was only slightly larger than 1%. In the state by state analysis, the most variance caused by undercount was not even 3%. These changes would be so minute that they ultimately would not affect the organization of congressional districts or apportionment of representatives. We created a program to model the apportionment of congressmen using the original United...


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This is another side-effect of rounding. If two states are growing at different rates, the smaller state with a more rapid growth, it is still possible for the smaller state to lose a representative. The rounding in the procedure is counter-intuitive, hurting the growing smaller state.
Accounting for the Undercount
Rationale. Due to the inaccuracies in the census, an error emerges in the form of an undercount. This inaccuracy can create problems both in determining apportionment of congressional seats as well as affecting groups who rely on the government census. The undercount leads to error in apportionment because states do not receive the proper representation they deserve. Other organizations depend highly on the national census as well. Non-profit organizations use the census in calculating minority populations within a state, and an undercount would

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