Formula Programs:

Adjusted Census Data Would Redistribute Small Percentage of Funds to States

GGD-92-12: Published: Nov 7, 1991. Publicly Released: Nov 13, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the use of the Bureau of the Census' 1990 census Post Enumeration Survey, focusing on the: (1) uses of population-related data in federal grant programs; and (2) potential implications of the proposed use of 1990 census-adjusted population data by the federal government in direct allocations to states and local governments.

GAO found that: (1) in fiscal year (FY) 1991, 100 federal programs providing grants at the state and local levels used population data directly or indirectly to allocate at least some portion of their grant funds; (2) during FY 1991, the 100 programs had total estimated obligations of about $116 billion; (3) since some programs allocated only a portion of their total grants through formulas that included population data elements, the amount of funding influenced by population data was less than that total; (4) the effect of substituting 1990 adjusted population data for the decennial census data in federal funding formulas would be relatively small, because of the multiple variables involved in determining fund allocations and the fact that most federal funding formulas use data aggregated at a state level; (5) since more time has been available to perfect the methodology for adjustment, and estimates were not produced for very small geographic areas, the Bureau might be able to adjust intercensal population estimates for the FY 1990 census net undercount; and (6) any data incorporating a correction for census net undercounts will not be available before mid-1992 or early FY 1993, because of the time involved to complete the necessary methodological research.

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