News FocusThe 2010 Census

America's Uncounted Millions

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Science  22 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5930, pp. 1008-1009
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_1008

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In early May 2010, 1.2 million temporary workers will start knocking on the doors of about one-third of the U.S. population: the people who haven't sent in their census forms. Despite the best efforts of these workers, however, many people will be missed. How to deal with this undercount has occupied statisticians for decades. It's also of perennial interest to politicians because the census is used to reapportion seats in the House of Representatives. The Obama Administration has repeatedly said it has no plans to conduct an "adjustment" in the 2010 census count, as many statisticians have advocated. But that hasn't stopped several House Republicans from agitating about such a possibility, which they fear would benefit Democrats, and they have accused the Administration of attempting to politicize the census.