Minority count more accurate in 2000 census

Thursday, February 15, 2001 at 1:00am

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Census Bureau said yesterday the 2000 census tallied the country's population more accurately than the 1990 count, most notably in the traditionally undercounted black, Hispanic and American Indian minorities.

The news was well received by civil rights groups but was unlikely to stave off a new round of political wrangling between Democrats and Republicans over the use of statistical sampling to ''correct'' undercounts.

The issue is a perennial political hot potato as the census numbers are used both to determine how many seats each state has in the House of Representatives and how to redraw the lines of the districts that elect delegates to those seats.

The Supreme Court ruled in January 1999 that population counts statistically adjusted to compensate for overcounts and undercounts could not be used to allocate seats for the House and that only the raw data should be used for this purpose.

However, the court said it was up to individual states to decide which numbers they would use when redrawing congressional and state legislative lines next year.

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