U.S. census enumerators have stopped trying to count all of the noses and houses in Utah - at least for another 10 years.
Following local government challenges to preliminary 1990 Census figures, some 28 census workers have just completed a two-month canvass of housing units in four Utah counties and 26 cities and towns, according to Aileen Lucero, spokeswoman with the Census Bureau's regional office in Denver.It was the last phase of the decennial census to be conducted in Utah since residents were asked to fill out census forms last April. Already, three temporary staging offices in Ogden, Salt Lake City and Provo have been closed.
President Bush will receive official count of the nation's population on Dec. 31. Next April 1, Gov. Norm Bangerter will receive state figures in preparation for redistricting federal House of Representative and state legislative seats.
The recanvass efforts were in response to local officials who felt that the Census Bureau had made mistakes while counting the population and housing units in their counties or cities. Government officials couldn't challenge preliminary population figures, just housing unit numbers.
Daggett, Salt Lake, San Juan and Weber counties filed challenges along with towns such as the polygamist community Hildale, Washington County, with a preliminary population of 969, and Provo, which is the state's third largest city, according to the preliminary counts.
Unlike other large and midsize American cities that have threatened to force the Census Bureau to correct undercounts through court action, Salt Lake City seemed content with a count that showed a continuing 30-year decline in population, this time to 158,130 residents.
Salt Lake County officials challenged figures that showed some county residents living inside city boundaries and vice versa.
"It looks like it is a wash," said Jerold Barnes, Salt Lake County Planning Division director about the mixup. "They had a problem with their mapping."
West Jordan challenged the numbers after it showed the city's population at 42,261 - nearly 8,000 lower than city estimates of 50,140. Sandy also believed that the Census Bureau had missed 4,000 residents in preliminary estimates.
While some cities had the Census Bureau check its counts of certain blocks, West Jordan asked a review of figures for the entire city.
"It was of such a nature we couldn't pinpoint discrepancies," said John Hiskey, West Jordan city manager, noting that the discrepancy could have an adverse effect on city funding such as population-based state sales tax distribution.
In San Juan County, getting an accurate count of Navajo residents who live on the reservation is complicated and has been a pawn in political power plays.
"One problem we found was the census workers on the reservation came from Albuquerque," said Navajo County Commissioner Mark Maryboy.
During a recanvass, census workers were provided with more detailed maps of where residents in remote areas lived. The 1980 Census shows Navajos to be 43 percent of the population, and if that grows, Navajos, who have been underrepresented in county government, could gain more political clout.
State officials were concerned that 10 Utah towns, where they saw possible population count discrepancies, may have been overlooked in the recanvass. State officials filed challenges for some cities after comparing the Census Bureau's housing unit counts with hook-up records from Utah Power & Light, according to Patricia Frandsen, research analyst with the State Data Center.
The State Data Center asked the Census Bureau to check its figures on Park City; Logan; Annabella, Sevier County; Ivins, Washington County; Santaquin, Utah County; Mendon, Cache County; Nibley, Cache County; Wellsville, Cache County; Woodruff, Rich County; and Huntsville, Weber County. Lucero said last week that those cities were not included in a recanvass.
"It's disconcerting," said Frandsen, who believes there may be some misunderstanding about the state's role to challenge numbers on behalf of cities. She said she was aware of the Census Bureau checking into discrepancies in Park City, although it wasn't part of the official recheck.
She's worried about Logan's count because initial figures showed only 1,100 residents living in "group quarters," a designation that includes college dorms. Frandsen said that there are at least 2,000 dorm residents at Utah State University.
Another two entities - Tooele County and the Uintah-Ouray Indian Reservation - failed to return incomplete challenge forms and were not recanvassed, Frandsen said.
The following counties and cities dispute figures in the 1990 Census:
Salt Lake County
San Juan County
Cornish, Cache County
Elk Ridge, Utah County
Enterprise, Washington County
Escalante, Garfield County
Eureka, Juab County
Sprindale, Washington County
Fountain Green, Sanpete County
Hildale, Washington County
Kamas, Summit County
Kanarraville, Iron County
Leeds, Washington County
Monroe, Sevier County
Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete County
Randolph, Rich County
West Point, Davis County
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Utah State Data Center