Does it matter that Utah’s population has been crossed at the 2020 census?

New residences on Vineyard were photographed on August 2. 11, 2021. The US Census Bureau said Thursday that Utah was the sixth state to be exceeded count in the 2020 census. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

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Salt Lake City – Utah’s 18.4% population increase between the 2010 and 2020 censuses topped the nation; However, US Census Bureau officials said Thursday that they exceeded the beehive state and seven other states during their collection period.

But it’s not yet clear what that means for Utah’s official 2020 population total. Deb Stimbosky, assistant director of decimal programs at the U.S. Census Bureau, said her team will look at post-census results to see if any census adjustments are warranted. . Each state’s total population helps determine federal spending and resource allocation.

Local experts believe there is nothing to worry about. Mallory Bateman, director of demographic research at the Kim C. Gardner Institute for Policy at the University of Utah, said she believes it shouldn’t affect Utah’s number and funding allocation much, if at all.

“I think it’s kind of a reminder of what was going on in a wild atmosphere,” she said. “You never want to be out of the house, but you better not have any change in distribution or anything that happened in Utah that might have been questioned by that information.”

The Census Bureau highlighted the results within its Post-Census Survey edition, which analyzed the group’s accuracy. It found that the statistic also outperformed Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island as well, while it was lower than Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas.

Tim Kennell, assistant division chief for the bureau’s statistical method, said the remaining states did not have a statistical difference large enough to score a problem.

In the case of Utah, the net coverage error estimate was plus 2.59%, well above the national average of 0.24%. The higher the ratio, the more people were counted than it should have been. Utah had the sixth highest rate in count with Hawaii dropping 6.79% at the highest rate.

Experts don’t know exactly why this happens, Kennell explained, but an increase in the count occurs when people live in two areas and incidentally fill out forms at both addresses, Kennell explained.

“Or another person may fill out a form of his own and include it in a form, and another person may fill it out in another form from another place,” he added. “Children who are trapped or go back and forth with their divorced parents may be a classic example of this type of situation.”

Bateman said she guessed Utah had been overtaken because there were “a lot of factors” going on by April 1, 2020, which the statistic is trying to gather a snapshot of.

This was in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, so the “snowbirds” may have stayed a little longer than usual. It could have been a result of off-campus college students as well, because the dorms were empty by this time. There has also been an increase in the overall non-Hispanic white population in the nation, and three-quarters of Utahns fall into this category.

Another theory might be Utah’s willingness to fill out the questionnaire. For example, Utah and Minnesota had near the highest census response rates and both were lead enumerators.

“People were probably a little overworked at getting these responses,” Bateman said, chuckling.

The bureau did not have information on whether certain areas of the country were overtaken more than others.

Whatever the case, she says it’s not a sign that Utah wasn’t growing as fast as it was between 2010 and 2020. All other information from the Census Bureau, including its 2021 population estimates, suggests it wasn’t far off either. Much. Similar data points help federal government resources.

The survey released Thursday mostly helps the bureau arrange the 2030 census process.

“It is important to remember that the quality of the overall population in the 2020 census is robust and consistent with recent censuses,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Santos. “However, we know that there is still more work to be done in planning for future censuses to ensure equitable coverage across the United States, and we are working to overcome any and all obstacles to achieve this goal.”

And all future forecasts put Utah on track to grow 66% over the next 40 years as well. As it stands, it will continue to receive a larger share of federal funding, resources and representation, since it continues to grow faster than other states.

“If the trends that have occurred continue, we will likely continue to be a case of growth,” Pittman said. “Compared to the rest of the nation, we have a lot of areas that are not growing or declining. The fact that we continue to grow makes us a very unique place overall.”

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoor activities, history and sports for KSL.com. Previously he worked for Deseret News. It is transplanted in Utah by way of Rochester, New York.

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