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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

N.D. census news

Two points: First, what a treasure Grand Forks Life has in the postcard of downtown Grand Forks, circa 1946. I wonder if there's a way of getting the photo blown up and turned into a wall poster? I'd spend a couple of bucks on such an item, and I'm guessing some other residents would, too. It's a gem.

If memory serves, the WPA Guide to North Dakota (which was written during the Depression in the 1930s) describes Grand Forks' southern boundary as being 13th Avenue South, near the "new" Lincoln Park. So, by 1946, would the southern edge have dropped down to, say, 17th Avenue South? Probably not; Red River High School on 17th Avenue South opened in 1967, and people say the school practically was in the countryside then (as South Middle School is today.) In any event, it's fun to look at the postcard and remember that in 1946, the entire city limits of Grand Forks didn't extend very far beyond the edges of the photo!

Now, about the census: I can add to the discussion of the North Dakota census taking place here and here. The Herald editorial board met with U.S. Bureau of the Census director Charles Louis Kincannon on Monday; he visited along with some members of Gov. John Hoeven's staff. Kincannon is in North Dakota because Hoeven and other state leaders have protested so strongly about the annual census updates, which are issued using information provided by the State Data Center at NDSU. "If a state shows that much interest in the census, then we're interested in that state," Kincannon said (that's a paraphrase, not an exact quote).

The basic problem is shown by these figures, which Dale Wetzel of the Associated Press reported on the other day:

"The agency pegged North Dakota's population at 633,666 on July 1, 1999. In the census count the following year, it jumped to 642,200, an increase of 13.4 percent. However, in 2001, the population estimate showed a steep decline, to 634,448."

What's important is that the middle figure -- 642,200 -- represents the actual count, the 2000 census that's taken by everyone to be authoritative. Or is it? Because when tracked against the state Data Center's estimates as shown here (for the 1990s) and here (for 2001 and beyond), the actual count in 2000 is a spike, one that almost seems to have been dismissed by the center in its insistence on holding onto its estimating methods.

The state is taking two actions to try to make the annual estimates more accurate; Kincannon raised no objection to either of them. The first is a law passed a session or two ago to send some drivers license info to the IRS, in order to find out how many snowbirds call N.D. their home of record (on their drivers license) while filing their federal tax returns in, say, Arizona.

"Ron Raushenberger, Gov. John Hoeven's deputy chief of staff, said federal tax return data counts about 12,000 fewer resident North Dakota filiers than state data shows," The AP reported.

"'It's not a small difference,' Rauschenberger said."

North Dakota -- the only state to have passed such a drivers license/IRS law, by the way -- now has sent the relevant info to the Census Department, and the department should release its findings in a few months.

The second effort was the creation of the North Dakota Census Committee, which Hoeven set up as a direct result of his unhappiness with the Census Bureau's annual estimates. The committee is meant to provide more input to the State Data Center. The center, in turn, will send better numbers to the Census Bureau, and the bureau will offer up more accurate official estimates as a result.

The five-member committee includes officials from the state Office of Management and Budget, Tax Department and Job Service; State Data Center Director Richard Rathge; and Rod Backman, the former OMB director who's now a private consultant. For my part, I don't see the committee's influence turning up yet in the census estimates, but over time I expect to.

6 Comments:

Blogger GrandForksGuy said...

Thanks for the link to my blog!

If you look in the lower left hand corner of the postcard, you'll notice that the Herald seems to have been the owner of the photo. Maybe you have something in your archives? Or maybe stuff like that was lost in '97...

Something I've always found fascinating about pictures like this is the fact that someone apparently had to sit down after the initial black and white photo was taken and color in each and every building. It gives the image an intersting look that is halfway between photo and drawing.

I would also like to point out EGF. Look at how the city seems to stop right at Sherlock Park. There are only a handful of homes bordering what would become Gateway Drive.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Tu-Uyen said...

Flood. Fire. Archives gone.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ND lost 11,300 people who moved
out of state in 2001-2002 year when
the great mass out migration due to
lost jobs in ND happened. I believe that is what the state data
center came up with. The 2002 legislature showed corp. taxes went
from 63 million in 2000 to 42 million in 2002.

The population increased in 2004 I
believe because Hoeven stated that we were just 74 people less than in
2000 but it was because we had 3500
more births than deaths due to Iraq
war baby boom!

We still have just as many people leaving as their aren't very many
great jobs except oil boom.

Big box stores that crashed into ND
because they had no where else to
build in except China according to
Wall Street.

The state data center also stated
that Bismarck and Fargo are done
getting the buffalo commons people
moving from (rural into city.) Bismarck had growth because 300 farm families moved into Bismarck.

The state was 51st in creation of
new jobs again. ND needs someone
in the Economic Department who can
create jobs. ND is the lowest paid
and still cannot get jobs that SD
MT and MN get. They need to hire
SD job creation boss. This is ridiculous~~

4:45 PM  
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