9th Circuit Appeals Panel Tells Census Bureau: Release the Numbers

Article excerpt

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled unanimously on Wednesday that the Census Bureau must make public the adjusted numbers it calculated as part of the 2000 Census.

The 3-0 decision upholds last November's Federal District Court's decision, which ruled that statistically adjusted census data should be released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The plaintiffs in the case are two Oregon lawmakers who argued that the adjusted Census number is necessary to correct the under- and over-count that plagued the 2000 Census.

The decision orders the release of the data but does not order the federal government to consider the adjusted count in its allocations to municipalities and the states.

The Court rejected the bureau's arguments that the release of the adjusted data would compromise the bureau's effectiveness by exposing some databases.

In 1999, the Supreme Court barred the use of adjusted numbers for the reapportionment of Congressional seats.

A bureau survey following the 2000 tally estimated a net undercount of 3.3 million out of an estimated 281 million people.

That figure was down from a net undercount of over 4 million in the 1990 Census. Traditionally, the undercounted reside in democratic leaning districts, and are disproportionately people of color, the poor and children. …