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Lawler: Census 2020, Population Estimates, and Population Projections: Challenges for Demographers


Today, in the Real Estate Newsletter: Lawler: Census 2020, Population Estimates, and Population Projections: Challenges for Demographers

Excerpt: CR Note: Demographics are useful in making economic projections, especially for housing. Demographic changes helped me call the bottom for rents in 2010 / 2011 and helped me predict the recent homebuying boom. For example, from 2016, see: Demographics: Renting vs. Owning.

In this note, housing economist Tom Lawler discusses some of the current challenges for demographers. This is a bit technical.

From Tom Lawler:

Each year Census produces estimates of the US resident population, both totals and characteristics of the population (age, sex, race/ethnicity, etc.).  Population estimates are basically “walk-forwards” from a “base” population year, using estimates of births, deaths, and net international migration to produce population estimates for years subsequent to the “base” year. 

The starting point for population estimates has always been the same date as that of last decennial census, and historically Census has used the decennial census population results as the “base” population from which to generate population estimates for subsequent years.  It has done so even when post-census analysis or demographic analysis has suggested that the “true” characteristics of the population were different from the decennial census results.

For the most recent Census population estimates, however, it was not possible to use decennial census results because processing/other issues significantly delayed the availability of the detailed census 2020 demographic data, which were just released last month.  (There were a few other issues as well.).There is much more in the article. You can subscribe at

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