Rep. Waxman, Other Members Release Preliminary Analysis of Adjusted Census Data

Dec 12, 2002
Press Release

Rep. Henry A. Waxman and ten other Democratic members of the House Committee on Government Reform today released a preliminary analysis of adjusted data from the 2000 Census in a letter to Speaker Hastert and Minority Whip Elect Pelosi. A copy of the letter and a summary of the data are available on the web page of the minority staff of the Committee on Government Reform, www.reform.house.gov/min

The data shows that the 2000 Census failed to count over six million Americans, and counted over three million Americans twice. The data, which have important implications for redistricting and for the distribution of federal funds, were initially withheld by the Bush Administration.

The adjusted census data shows that blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities were disproportionately affected by the undercount. The undercount rate for blacks was almost twice the national average; the undercount rate for Hispanics was two and a half times the national average; and the undercount rate for Native Americans, Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders was three to four times the national average. In total, almost 750,000 blacks and almost 1.2 million Hispanics were not counted in the 2000 Census.

In April 2001, pursuant to the "Seven Member Rule" (5 U.S.C. § 2954), sixteen members of Congress asked Secretary of Commerce Evans to release the adjusted census data. After the Commerce Department refused to comply with the request, a lawsuit was filed in the federal district court for the Central District of California. In a parallel proceeding, the Ninth Circuit court ruled in favor of two Oregon state legislators who also sought the data. On December 5, 2002, Secretary Evans turned over the adjusted census data.

The adjusted census data also show that some states were affected more than others by the errors in the 2000 Census. The net undercount was just 0.29% in Minnesota, while the net undercount was 1.54% in California and 1.79% in Texas - over five times higher. In other areas, the net undercount was even higher in percentage terms: 2.19% in Washington, D.C., 2.49% in Alaska, and 4.66% in Puerto Rico. In absolute numbers, the five states with the largest net undercounts were California (509,012), Texas (364,032), New York (202,049), Florida (195,684), and Georgia (119,852).