Who’s right and does it matter?
March 26, 2007
Did the population of Douglas County actually decrease 137 in 2006? It depends on whose numbers you trust.
The Nevada Demographer and U.S. Census seldom agree on a number and this case is no different. What is rare is the gap between the two, which at present is a whopping 5,861, or about the number of people who live in Indian Hills.
In comparison, the difference in 1997 was a paltry 1,349. When the 2000 census came out the state revised its figures downward 3.2 percent to accommodate the difference. Should the demographer revise his numbers now, he would show a decrease in the county’s population of 11 percent and there is no reason to believe that the gap won’t get wider in the next three years.
So what’s really going on here?
Statistically speaking, we’re in the dark. The history of the demographers’ numbers is rife with corrections including a 1994 13.9 percent jump when part-time residents began to be included in the figures. The census on the other hand works from documentation that might reflect numbers from surrounding municipalities as much as actual county’s numbers.
We agree with observers that the county’s population has definitely flattened out and may lie somewhere between the demographer’s increase and the census’ decrease.
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But we also recognize that it doesn’t take many Californians to make a whole lot of Nevadans and that once the flow begins again, it will be obvious to even a casual observer.