Mid-Decade Census Numbers Fuel Confusion And Doubt

California cities are getting a look at the results of the U. S. Census Bureau's first American Community Survey of medium-sized cities; some officials grouse at the 'funny numbers'--they just don’t add up.
September 8, 2006, 12pm PDT | davarnado
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“The margin of error for the 114 California cities in the survey varied from 1.4% in Los Angeles to nearly 20% in Indio, depending on the number of households queried.”

Commenting on the figures for Lakewoodâ€"100,119 or 76,387-- D. J. Waldie, the city’s public information officer said, “My jaw dropped when I saw those figures. I walked into the boss and said you can drive a very large truck through a margin of error this size. This is the fuzziest of math. It’s so clouded it’s cracked.”

“Such a wide margin causes problems for municipal planners wrestling with housing and city infrastructure needs and could affect governmental grants and allocations that are made on the basis of population.”

“Federal census officials, meantime, stressed that the American Community Survey is a work in progress that will become cleaner each year.”

Thanks to D. A. Varnado, AICP

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Published on Thursday, September 7, 2006 in The Los Angeles Times
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