Census Data Check


The assignment is to see whether the U.S. Census Bureau's estimate of the number of housing units (HU) and people (POP) on a block seem to match what you observe on the ground. (We are not going to do a door to door canvas.) For background, you might like to look-up definitions for "housing units", "population" and "imputation" on the Census Bureau's web-site.


US Census Bureau American FactFinder


  1. Access the American FactFinder web-site to read about the US Census, and the products it produces. The links labeled "Census Overview" and "Maps and Geography", on the left-hand side of the page, may be the most useful for us.
  2. Select one block within Honolulu and get its numbers for total population and housing units.
  3. Go to the block and look around (no trespassing or harassing the residents) trying to identify and count housing units and trying to estimate the population. (You might like to set some upper and lower bounds on guesses based on numbers of lanais, doors, electric meters, cars, bicycles, slippers, etc.)

The Write-up

Your write-up should be 2 pages (maximum) in addition to a sketch map of the block and housing units. It should identify the block and give the Census's counts for HU and POP. It should give your estimates, and describe how you came to your numbers. It should address the degree of agreement between your observation and the Census's, and might well address your level of confidence in either. (Remember, they have a whole system of mail-outs and follow-ups backed by compliance laws, and you had just a few hours.)

As usual, put your name, the assignment name "Census Data Checking" and the date in the upper right corner of the page.