U.Va. Demographers Improve Virginia Census Address List

March 30, 2010 – Demographers at the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service have identified more than 6,000 new addresses of Virginia residents to be included in this year's decennial federal census.

The U.Va. demographers, working through U.S. Census Bureau-sponsored programs, have improved Census Bureau address lists for the commonwealth, paying special attention to new housing addresses and group quarters addresses for dormitories, nursing homes, prisons and jails.

The project is important to the state because the decennial census count determines each community's share of certain federal and state funds, as well as apportionment of congressional seats and the drawing of voting districts.

"We highly commend the Census Bureau's diligent effort to involve state experts in improving each state's address lists. It will have a significant impact on a successful count," said Qian Cai, director of the Cooper Center's demographics and workforce group.

Last month, Cooper Center demographers completed the first phase of the Census Bureau's Count Review Program aimed at improving the Census household address list. Under grants awarded by the governor's office and the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.Va. demographers compiled more than 1.2 million household addresses from 20 fast-growing Virginia localities. They also spent a week at the Census Bureau offices in Washington comparing their list of new household addresses to the bureau's list and found 4,100 housing units missing in the census addresses.

Many of the missing addresses represented housing units recently constructed in Louisa, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties, all fast-growing areas in Virginia.

According to U.Va. demographer Susan Perrone Clapp, a former Census Bureau employee who directed the U.Va project, while these units will not receive the 2010 Census questionnaire mailed recently, information on these households will be gathered when census takers go into communities to follow up on census forms not returned and on households left off the mailing list.

In 2008, Cooper Center demographers participated in the "Local Update of Census Addresses" program, sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau. Through that program, more than 1,500 non-household, group-quarter addresses were corrected or added to U.S. Census records.

"We are pleased to represent Virginia in these census programs. Our contribution will improve the accuracy of this decade's count of Virginians," Clapp said. "Complete and accurate address lists are only the first step, however. For the benefit of the commonwealth, we want to encourage all Virginians to complete and return their census forms."

REPORTERS: For information, contact Susan Clapp at 434-982-5690.

Clapp and Qian Cai can also discuss the decennial census.