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Population Forecasting Methods: A Report on Forecasting and Estimating Methods

Appendix II: Data Sources

Federal Government

U.S. Bureau of the Census

U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare

State Government

Local Government

Private and Quasi-Public Sources

Federal Government: General Notes

A wealth of information useful for population studies (as well as many other phases of the transportation planning process) may be found in government statistical publications and reports. A fairly complete list of data available from the agencies of the Federal Government can be found in two Federal publications:

Statistical Services of the United States Government, Executive Office of the President, Bureau of the Budget, Revised edition, 1963.

Directory of Federal Statistics for Metropolitan Areas, An Information Report, The Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, October 1962.

Both of these publications are available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 20402, for $1.00 each. They contain descriptions of agencies which collect data, definitions of important terms, the types of data collected and the tabulations available. The first publication is primarily a list of agencies and the types of data each collects. The second lists types of data available and which agencies can provide the data.

U.S. Bureau of the Census: General Notes

The Bureau of the Census in the Department of Commerce is the largest agency of the Federal Government for the collection, compilation and publication of general-purpose statistics. It is responsible for taking all the censuses authorized by law, including:

The Bureau of the Census also collects information in sample surveys at more frequent intervals - monthly, quarterly, or annually - on many of the subjects covered in the decennial censuses, e.g., population, manufacturing activity and commodity production, retail and wholesale trade, State and local government finances, and housing characteristics and vacancies.

Decennial Census of Population and Housing

General Notes

The Decennial Census of Population and Housing collects and publishes detailed information on number of persons, age, sex, race characteristics, education, income, housing, labor force, etc., for small areas. There are large amounts of data that are never published by the Census, but which are available upon request. Information concerning these data, an estimate of costs, and the Procedures necessary for obtaining this information are found in tie following publications.

Both of these Publications may be obtained by writing to:

U.S. Bureau of the Census Washington, D.C. 20233

U.S. Census of Population, 1960

Data on number of inhabitants and their characteristics are published in Volume I. This volume in turn is divided into four parts, each of which is further divided into 57 sections, one such section for each State, a United States summary and certain United States possessions. The four marts are:

U.S. Census of Housing, 1960

The data on housing are published in seven volumes of which volumes I and III are of special interest. Volume I State and Small Areas is subdivided into 55 reports, one for each State, a United States summary and certain United States possessions. The report contains data on the characteristics of housing units for the State with separate statistics for each standard metropolitan statistical area, urbanized area, place of 1000 inhabitants or more, county, and rural-farm and rural-nonfarm parts of the county.

Volume III, City Blocks, is subdivided into 421 separate reports, one for each city of 50,000 inhabitants or more and selected other cities. It contains information on housing characteristics and total population for each census block.

Current Population Reports

The Bureau of the Census publishes information on special censuses current estimates, population projections and special studies. The title "Current Population Reports" applies to each of the several series published, each series dealing with a specific subject.

A recent publication of special interest in this series is P-23, No. 7, Components of Population Change, 1950 to 1960, For Counties, Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas, State Economic Areas, and Economic ,subregions. This publication contains figures on migration for each of these areas from 1950 to 1960.

Issue No. 286, July 1964 contains projections to the year 1985 (with extensions to 2010) for the United States by age and sex. Four series of projections are provided and the methods are discussed in considerable detail.

Individual copies of these reports are available at a small cost. Annual subscriptions to the series P-20, P-23, P-25, P-27, and P-28 combined may be made for $4.50. Annual subscriptions to the Series P-60 and P-65 combined may be made for $1.25. Subscription orders may be sent to the Bureau of the Census, Washington, D.C., 20233.

Special Publications

Statistical Abstract of the United States

This book is published annually and contains s statistics from governmental and nongovernmental sources on the industrial, social, political, and economic organization of the United States. It may be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 20402, for $3.50.

County and City Data Book, 1962

This publication presents data for each county, State, standard metropolitan statistical area, urbanized area, unincorporated urban place of 25,000 population or more, and for each city of 25,000 population or more. Copies may be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 20402, for $5.25 each.

Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Time to 1957

This volume contains more than 3,200 statistical time series, largely annual, extending back to the earliest year for which the data are available, with specific source notes, definitions of terms, description of development and reliability of the data, detailed subject index, and descriptive text. Copies of this publication may be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 20402, for $6.00 each.

U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare: General Notes

This agency collects data on vital statistics (births and deaths) and information on school enrollment. Much of it is detailed on a State level although certain data are available for metropolitan areas and counties.

Office of Education

The data collected by this agency concern the condition and progress of American education and including such statistics as staff students, etc., of public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools. Two publications, the Digest of Educational Statistics and Statistics of State School Systems contain information on national and State enrollment in public schools by grade. The second publication also contains similar data for nonpublic schools.

Public Health Service

(Including National Center for Health Statistics)

Statistics concerning the number of births, deaths, marriages, and divorces are prepared and published by the National Vital Statistics Division of the Public Health Service. In addition, this agency prepares life expectancy tables. The information published is for the nation as a whole. However, certain of the data are prepared for States.

Vital Statistics of the United States

This report is published annually in two or more volumes and contains counts on births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. These statistics are available on a national level and contain considerable detail.

Monthly Vital Statistics Report

Presents monthly and cumulative data on births, deaths, etc. Occasional special reports are also prepared on special subjects such as use of these statistics in preparing estimates.

State Government: General Notes

It is not possible in this report to list all of the sources or types of data available for each State. However, in this section several of the more general State sources of data will be mentioned. The reader should realize that the names of the public agencies from which data way be obtained will vary from State to State as will the type of data.

Furthermore, what may be a department in one State may only be a small office in another, or not even exist at all. Definitions will also vary between States. For example, the term "births" may mean all births in one State and only live births in another. Users of population data will have to investigate all sources for their own particular State and determine exactly what is available.

State Department of Commerce

Many States have a special department devoted to cooperating with and promoting commerce in the State. Such an agency may have current population estimates and/or forecasts for the State as a whole and/or local areas. It may also have information on economic activity within the State which would be of value in forecasting the growth potential, thus the migration trends, for the study area.

State Department of Health

Counts of actual births and deaths by age, sex, and race of person to whom the event occurred are usually available. This information is useful in calculating local area rates and preparing current population estimates. These data are normally corrected for areas of residence rather than places where the event occurred. For example, it is necessary to assign births and deaths to the place of residence. Otherwise, an area containing a large hospital would appear to have extremely high birth and death rates.

State Department of Education

State Bureau of Employment Security

The purpose of this State agency is to carry out the State unemployment insurance program. As a part of this program, this agency obtains employment information from all "covered" employees. If this employment information is made available for the study area, an analysis of the data would provide a great deal of insight as to the potential for future migration. For example, a sudden rise in construction activities may underlie a temporary increase in population which will disappear when the construction is completed. On the other hand, a recent rise in employment in manufacturing may indicate the introduction of stable activities which will indicate a more permanent, long range increase in population.

Local Government: General Notes

Local sources of data include both counties and cities or municipalities. In many cases the State organizations already mentioned will exist on a local level, and should be investigated. The same general comments apply to local governments as sources of data as to State governments. Since there are so many sources and so many ways to define the statistics collected, the worker in this field must investigate all possible sources and determine the precise definition of each bit of information collected.

In addition to local branches of State agencies or parallel local agencies, several other possible local sources should be investigated. These would include:

Local Planning Office

This office may have considerable information already available, including copies of State and Federal data sources (for example, a complete census library). In addition, it may have current estimates and/or population forecasts already prepared. Local Planning agencies often have historic data available which is of considerable value in studying and developing trends.

Plans of the agency ,nay affect the future size and distribution of population in the local area and so must be considered in preparing a population forecast.

License and Inspection Office

Assuming this is the local office handling occupancy and building code permits, this office may have an accurate record of the number of dwelling units and/or size. Occasionally, the number of occupants is included. This information, if available and up to date, may be used as an indicator of current population.

Tax Assessors Office

Depending on the types of local taxes collected and the procedure used in handling the records, this office may have information on number of individuals in the local area and changes in local employment characteristics..

Voter Registration Records

To a small degree, changes in the number of voters are used as symptomatic data in preparing current population estimates. In areas where long waiting periods or irregular voter registration procedures exist these records will be inadequate.

Private and Quasi - Public Sources: General Notes

Nongovernmental sources of data include public utilities, consultants, planning departments of various companies, etc. They may be operated for profit or as a nonprofit operation and the data may be a major part of the overall program or just a by-product necessary for the total project. Again, it would be impossible to list all possible sources, but some of the more valuable ones will be listed.

Public Utilities

Utilities find it necessary to plan for the future, and in many locations have prepared estimates and/or forecasts of their own which may be useful to the transportation study. Other data which may be available and of value can be classified as symptomatic data. Such "symptoms" as records on installations or removals of utility meters may be symptoms of changes in population. Utilities which require individual meters for every dwelling unit, as is often the requirement with electric companies, are the most useful. However, in those areas where one meter for a large apartment is permissible or in those areas where the number of meters is optional this symptomatic factor is less valuable.

College, Universities, and Research Foundations

There are many research projects being conducted at colleges, universities, and research foundations that involve the development of current population estimates or future forecasts.

Private Organizations

Many private organizations find it necessary to prepare population data for their use. These data may be confidential and not available or they may be provided upon request. Also valuable to forecasting purposes is information on company's plans for future expansion or relocation, and the effects this will have on employment. This is especially important in an area which is heavily dependent on one or a few companies or type of activity for its employment.

National Planning Association

The NPA is a private, nonprofit research organization founded to study the methods for the full utilization of the productive resources of the United States -to give the American people the highest possible material and cultural standards of living. Many publications of the NPA are useful planning tools. Of particular interest to demographers are their Regional Economic Projection Series publications; especially

Regional Projections-to 1976 (Population, Labor Force, Employment, and Income), Technical supplement No. 8, Feb. 1962.

This and other publications are available to subscribers. For further information write to the National Planning Association, 1606 New Hampshire Avenue, NW., Washington, D.C., 20009.

City Directories

Up to date city directories are valuable sources of population data, especially for small area counts. However, city directories are often only available for part of the study area; normally, the central areas and older suburbs.

Updated: 3/25/2014
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