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Evaluating the Housing Unit Method: A Case Study of 1990 Population Estimates in Florida

Stan Smith, Scott Cody
Component ID: #ti427052801

Introduction

The housing unit (HU) method is the most commonly used approach to making small-area population estimates in the United States.  This study evaluates the accuracy and bias of HU population estimates produced for counties and subcounty areas in Florida for April 1, 1990.  The major findings are that population size has a negative effect on estimation errors (disregarding sign) but no effect on bias; growth rates have a U-shaped effect on estimation errors (disregarding sign) and a negative effect on bias; electricity customer data provide more accurate household estimates than do building permit data; errors in household estimates contribute more to population estimation error than do errors in estimates of average household size or group quarters population; and the application of professional judgment improves the accuracy of purely mechanical techniques.  We believe the HU method offers a number of advantages over other population estimation methods and provides planners and demographers with a powerful tool for small-area analysis.

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