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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 24, 2011 9:48 AM. The previous post in this blog was Game report: Lakers 106, Blazers 101, OT. The next post in this blog is Tough sell. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

City of Portland population: PSU, Census numbers converge

After going their separate ways for a while, the federal Census Bureau and the population estimators at Portland State University have come to remarkably similar conclusions about the number of residents Portland had on July 1, 2010. The new Census figure, released yesterday, is 583,776, whereas the PSU number from a couple of months ago was 583,835. Almost identical, really -- a 0.01% difference.

As the Census was showing lower numbers in recent years, the growth rate drawn by that federal agency is higher than the rate drawn by PSU. According to the feds, population growth in Portland over the last three years was at a compound annual rate of 0.99%, whereas PSU had it pegged at 0.90%. Over five years, Census had an annual growth rate of 1.69%, compared to PSU's 1.05%.

We've reset our City of Portland debt clock using the new Census population snapshot number, and a compromise growth rate projection of 1.4% a year. As of this writing, the city population stands at 589,106. At the 1.4% growth rate, the population within the city limits over future years will be as follows:

DateNew residents since 7/1/2010Total residents
7/1/20118,173591,948
7/1/201216,460600,236
7/1/201542,025625,801
7/1/2049420,2071,003,983
7/1/2060586,1111,169,887

At this rate, Portland's population will double in 50 years. It will reach 1 million residents in 39 years. Wrecking the place to prepare for the masses who are supposedly moving here any minute now, seems a dubious course of action indeed.

Comments (13)

Wrecking the place to prepare for the masses who are supposedly moving here any minute now, seems a dubious course of action indeed.

Ah, but who knows if the money will be here then? In the meantime, the money is here now. We better get to gettin'.

This is one somewhat geeky example, but to many the Census is not (and has never been) particularly accurate, except in broad, general numbers. Much of the data is derived data (using statistical models and probabilistic methods), and ther are always large swaths of questionable data.

In other words, in the case of something growing at "1.04%", it's not even worth calculating.

Of course, given that a few dozen PSU jobs depend on this not being true, you won't hear that from them.

If the population doubles, that means we need twice as many bike lanes!

We'll see.... there will be many many of us who will be very long gone before the next census.

Skipper Bob-Will you go by streetcar?

Of course, given that a few dozen PSU jobs depend on this not being true, you won't hear that from them.

Why would their jobs "depend on this not being true"? I'm sure they're all well aware of this issue and are taking the uncertainty it generates into account. These are dedicated public employees and I don't understand why you would impugn their reputations so cavalierly.

I'm troubled.

Ecohuman, your reply is misleading.

None of the decennial census figures are derived.

Projections made from the annual American Community Survey are derived from probability samples, but these are very different from the figures being released now.

Some of the best statistical minds in the country (if not the world) work at the Census. I have never heard anyone refer to "large swaths" of Census projections as questionable, so I don't know who the "many" you refer to above are.

The link you provide indicates that the Census got behind on processing forms because of IT problems. This slowed the followups that we conducted for quality control purposes. The Inspector General said this "MAY have" (emphasis added) impacted data quality because memory get faulty as time went on. Also it may have been harder to identify enumerators who were making mistakes.

In terms of evaluating the data reported here, you have to consider three things. First, where does Household Size rank in terms of the data items in the Census that are most likely to have been "forgotten" by respondents. Second, has Portland or Oregon ever been an area where the Census has had a problem collecting accurate information. Third, has the Census ever had a problem with hiring high quality enumerators in Portland or Oregon. I don't know the answer to these, but based on other things I know about the state, 'd be surprised if the answer to all three is "no."

Amend last sentence: I'd be surprised if the answer to all three were NOT "no".

Being that the current Streetcars in use carry barely more than a current bus, we need to start planning for replacements of the streetcars with new, high capacity models that can carry 200 or more passengers per vehicle; plus also look at rebuilding the entire MAX system to accomodate four car trains. That means rebuilding all stations and platforms, the signal system, and rebuilding the MAX routes through downtown. A subway has been suggested and a likely route would be right below the Transit Mall.

We also need to look at true commuter rail - starting with a complete rebuild of the WES system, and extending it west along T.V. Highway to Forest Grove, south to Salem, east to Hood River and north to Kelso. All routes will be electrified and the power generated by lineside solar panels and wind turbines; each train will have a capacity of at least 1,000 passengers and will run at a minimum 30 minute headway.

Finally, Portland will be the first city to replace a freeway with a bikeway. Interstate 5 from Vancouver to Tigard will become a bikeway for the exclusive use of bikes. Eight bikes can fit in the space occupied by one automobile, so think of the capacity increase - if two lanes can carry 25,000 vehicles per day, six lanes can carry 150,000 vehicles per day, or 1.2 million bikes per day.

Ecohuman, your reply is misleading. None of the decennial census figures are derived.

Unless you're trying to split hairs about the meaning of "derive", you're entirely wrong. It's well known (and somthing tells me you know this) that US Census results are not based entirely on physical counts of every person, or solely on census forms or information collected by field workers.

The US has used statistical abstraction for decades. The 2000 Census was roundly criticized for significant "adjustment" of figures to cover up problems. Previous censuses have have significant problems, too. The Internet is full of stories about what happened. All of this is, in fact, well-known.

The link you provide indicates that the Census got behind on processing forms because of IT problems.

It actually says quite a bit more than that, and was provided as one example of many.

In terms of evaluating the data reported here, you have to consider three things.

I'd say you have to consider several dozen "things", one of which how the actual numbers are derived.

But something tells me that a more appropriate response might be what Upton Sinclair said: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Hijack?

What hijack?

Again with the irrelevant pedantry?

ecohuman, don't waste your time trying to reason with those who cannot reason but are merely shills for a chosen form of ideology.

Doesn't the fact that the Census and PSU independently arrived at a very similar figure vouch rather strongly for its accuracy? Absent compelling evidence to the contrary, I see no reason whatsoever not to believe it.


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