Researchers worry about discrepancy in 2020 census data
Researchers are concerned about coronavirus-related disruptions to one of the US Census Bureau’s most important surveys of Americans’ lives, saying a gap in 2020 data will make it harder to understand the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 and year-over-year measurement. -year changes.
The Census Bureau released a report on Wednesday detailing its decision to release the 2020 American Community Survey one-year estimates only in an experimental format with a warning that it may not meet the agency’s statistical quality standards. .
The survey is typically based on responses from 3.5 million households to questions about travel times, internet access, family life, income, education levels, disabilities, military service and employment, but the disruption caused by the pandemic produced fewer responses.
The lack of reliable one-year estimates from 2020 is a cause for concern for researchers who fear there is a lack of data for a momentous year that has seen changes from the pandemic, natural disasters and manifestations of social justice, as well as making it difficult to measure. year-to-year changes over time.
“There are two potential problems,” said Paul Ong, a UCLA economics professor. “The first is not having comparable data to track longitudinal changes over time. The second is a much bigger problem, which is not having the data to examine the effects of the pandemic. For us, it is important to examine which populations and which neighborhoods have been most affected.
Because 1-year estimates are published annually, they provide a window into annual changes, which is especially important in 2020 when many researchers want to answer questions such as whether people moved during the pandemic, and s ‘they did it, to where,’ Kenneth said. Johnson, senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire.
“Has there been a significant exodus from dense urban cores? Have rural and leisure areas received significant flows of migrants? I get questions about this all the time from the media, but we really haven’t had a lot of good data to look at this,” Johnson said. “The year-long ACS would have given our first glimpses of this.”
The bureau first announced problems with the one-year estimates last summer, and Wednesday’s report details the issues. They include unreasonable overestimates of median household income, the number of single-family homes, married people, and college-educated residents, as well as suspicious decreases in the number of noncitizens.
Census Bureau officials are still deliberating whether they will release 5-year estimates from the 2020 American Community Survey, which provides data for smaller geographic areas and is aggregated over multiple years. 1-year estimates only provide information on places with at least 65,000 people.
Story of Mike Schneider.