April 1, 2012

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Count Us In

What the 2010 Census Reveals About Utah

Tom Haraldsen

April 1, 2012

In theory, results from both the census and the ACS would seemingly combine to paint a fairly complete picture of the American populace. But as Perlich points out, “so far, no one has really compiled those findings into something truly useful.” And she fears that the census was watered down, and hence weakened, by the increased implementation of a shorter census questionnaire, and the ACS. Much of the information that Americans have used to link to past generations isn’t included in the 2010 Census results.

The growth in population in the West didn’t just start one or two decades ago, either. Perlich points out that historically, large federal investments in highways, water projects and cold war military installations were essential to growth in the Western United States. Without an interstate highway system, for example, or water projects that led to hydro-electric power creation for air conditioning, the Southwest couldn’t have prospered.

So, where will the nation’s population shift to, or remain adhered to, over the next 10 years?

“The nation’s ‘industrial policy’ has always been the facilitator for the direction of future growth,” she says. “This census shows the effects of those policies. If we decide to invest in parts of the country that are in decline economically, people will stick. How and when those policies change will dictate where populations rise or decline in the decades ahead.” 


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