Thursday, August 20, 2009

Census Politics

How can the political process possibly get entangled with the decennial head count?

"Officials [in Utah] are in a dither because the bureau won’t count all those Mormon missionaries sent overseas.


In the most recent Census, taken in 2000, Utah fell just 857 people short of receiving the last available U.S. House seat and this discrepancy in how Americans are counted overseas made all the difference."

Whether more representatives in the House mean more funding is not clearly established. More representatives mean more people, and that directly means more federal money, but the applicable question is whether more representatives means more money per capita. There's actually a line of research that says that smaller states get more funding, known as the small state bias, since these states are, in population terms, over-represented in the U.S. Senate.

Nonetheless, the perception is that more representatives get more money, and that's got Utah none too pleased.

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