Population Estimating Procedures

How are population estimates calculated?

Annual population estimates are calculated in cooperation with the Census Bureau's Program Branches through FSCPE, the Federal-State Cooperative Program for Local Population Estimates. State FSCPE agencies are designated by their respective governors. The Massachusetts State Data Center, which encompasses the Massachusetts FSCPE agency, is a program of the UMass Donahue Institute's Economic and Public Policy Research Unit and is housed at the Institute's offices on the UMass Amherst campus.

The State Data Center Program was established in 1978 by the U.S. Census Bureau to make statistical information more readily available to the public. The program now includes most states in the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. The Census Bureau provides data products, training, technical assistance, and consultation to data centers, which then offer products and assistance to local community leaders, planners, businesses, researchers, and the general public.

The Census Bureau begins the process of preparing population estimates by updating population information from the most recent census with information found in the annual administrative records of Federal and state agencies. The Federal agencies provide tax records, Medicare records and some vital statistics information. The FSCPE agencies supply vital statistics, and information about group quarters like college dorms or prisons. The Census Bureau and FSCPE members combine census and administrative records information to produce current population estimates consistent with the last decennial census counts. The Census estimates are sent to the FSCPE agencies for review and comment.

Follow the links provided here for details of the methodology and definitions of the terms used in calculating the population estimates.

Page last updated on 07/1/2015