2020 Census will count troops at their home base

| February 19, 2018 | 15 Comments

Chief Tango sends us a link to NPR which reports that the Census Bureau has decided that they’ll count deployed troops at their home base instead of their home of record;

For the last census in 2010, all overseas military personnel were counted at the address they provided at enlistment. But in 2020, deployed service members will be counted as residents of the bases or ports they were temporarily assigned away from, according to a memo released this week by the Census Bureau…For many of the communities surrounding military bases around the country, the bureau’s decision is seen as a long-awaited victory after years of advocating for a change in policy.

“When those soldiers are not counted from where they’re stationed, then it has a huge economic impact on our community,” says Kelli Pendleton, president and CEO of the Christian County Chamber of Commerce in Hopkinsville, Ky., just outside of Fort Campbell.

When many of the troops at the U.S. Army base were overseas during the 2010 census, an estimated 10,000 service members were not counted in Christian County, according to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who sent a letter to the Census Bureau in support of the policy change. Instead, their numbers were directed to the population counts for the home addresses they provided when they first enlisted.

That means that the census will never be correct. Troops move in and out of congressional districts daily – Congressional Districts where they never vote. I was registered to vote in my home of record for the two decades that I was in the Army, and I moved an average of every two years. This decision artificially inflates populations.

Federal funding and grants for schools and roads could take a hit if there are significant population dips. But now, Pendleton says she doesn’t have to worry as much if any of Fort Campbell’s soldiers are gone again on census day 2020.

So counting a largely single, unmarried, childless demographic artificially inflates a need for Federal funding for schools.

Category: Government Incompetence

Comments (15)

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  1. Duane says:

    I wonder if this is going to lead to another round of their attempts at re-draw the political boundaries maps in some of the states.

    • DaveP. says:

      Every census does. I wouldn’t mind so much if states want to redraw district lies, except I live in a state where the Supreme Court thinks that it should have the right to draw my districts for me based on the automatic assumption that I’m a Klan member.
      See, the answer to “not enough black candidates getting elected” is “tortuously redraw districts to insure that there’s enough black voters to get a black candidate elected”, not “run better black candidates”.

    • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

      Some of those maps are already tortured stretches of reality to fit a particular ideology….

      If you want to be amused or angered depending, take a look at the districting maps across some states…

      You’ll quickly be asking, What the Actual Fuck is going on?

  2. SgtM says:

    California counts prisoners in a prison as residents of the closest town.

  3. Nastyleg says:

    How about dividing the state’s like a pie chart from the exact geographical center. You get what you get, life’s not fair now suck it and move on. If that isn’t blind division of the state enough for you. Then each county does an open ended run off election until only one rep from each county is standing. Then those candidates fight it out for their chance to be on the final ballot. By using county lines you open up to more options. More options means you can see the spectrum of autism in politics at work. Plus this gives unincorporated areas a voice. My 2 cents

  4. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    So California will get to -count- all those service folks stationed there to apportion representatives, but almost none of them will get to actually -vote- there.

    Wow. Sounds like when the dems wanted to count slaves for representatives, but not to vote.

  5. Perry Gaskill says:

    The NPR writer didn’t do a very good job on this story. She seems to leave out, for example, any comment from the Census Bureau on why they decided to make the change. Too, although moving the counts to military bases and including deployment numbers are related, they’re not the same thing. She also fails to indicate if the policy change means troops stationed somewhere else will no longer be allowed an absentee ballot from their home of origin.

    There was a time once when I worked on a lot of land-use planning stories, and used census data routinely. Such numbers might get folded in with, say, why a development could be allowed in one place and not another. In that situation, planners look at not only current population counts, but also in-out migration, birth-death rates, and so forth in order to perform projections for anticipated demand. If you find yourself stuck in commute-hour traffic, for example, there’s a fair chance somebody in charge of roads wasn’t paying attention.

    Yet another thing to consider is that census counts are not the same as voter registration. While it’s true population can determine the number of political representatives, a separate process determines how boundaries are set. Realistically, the military amounts to roughly one percent of the population, and the Census Bureau change is unlikely to have a much of an impact except in the specific locations of military bases. Personally, I’m not seeing that as such a bad thing. YMMV

  6. OWB says:

    Wow. Such a can of worms being opened here.

    On the one hand, the population of a military installation has more impact upon the adjacent geographic area than it probably has upon the home of record (road use, schools, utilities, etc), but it is also a very transient population. But, while the individuals will vary, the general population of Base X is fairly static.

    Where do these individuals vote? Where do they pay taxes? If that is in Vermont, for example, then why should California or Texas get to claim them for purposes of districting just because they live there temporarily?

    No easy answer, actually. The community around a base should indeed consider those military members from the base part of their community. But, if the individual doesn’t and is being represented by other members of Congress, yikes!

    Any clues what was broken that this move is attempting to fix?

  7. Ret_25X says:

    I suspect that school funding is part of this…

  8. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    How many AD stateside are we talking and where are they? Glad you asked. Here you go:


  9. Ex-PH2 says:

    Home of record? Don’t these bozos realize that things change over time?

    What if your “home of record” was sold long ago because one parent died and the other moved 350 miles away from it?

    Home of record – that doesn’t make any sense.

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