This article was originally published on Humorality, on June 14, 2010.
Apologizes for “New Joisey” Misprint
The Census Bureau, the government agency empowered to ask personal, somewhat-embarrassing questions in a graded essay format, released an updated set of population numbers from each of the 52 states, plus the Pretend State of Washington, DC. The current population of the United States stands at 309,495,619, or 309,495,620 if you are a really slow reader.
The revised numbers come amid a swirl of controversy over the bureau’s omission of key geographic areas and people groups, “including Rhode Island and East Virginia,” said Robert Groves, director of the Census Bureau. Calling it an honest mistake, Mr. Groves pointed the finger at the Founding Fathers, “for allowing states to get that small in the first place. We’re still scanning maps for East Virginia and its population of nearly four million.”
Also left out of the previous numbers were Wyoming, “which didn’t really impact the totals despite being left out for at least five years,” and Arizona, a state currently in federal custody while it awaits a Supreme Court decision over charges of vigilantism.
Today’s announcement is based on the estimated 2010 population numbers, an extrapolation of the 2009 official estimates, which in turn come from 2008’s educated guesses, then 2007, and so on, down to the constitutionally protected numbers of the 2000 Census. “And we had Y2K to contend with back then,” said Groves. “It’s a good thing we wipe the slate clean every ten years.” The numbers from the 2010 Census won’t be available until December, “or the twelfth month of the year, whichever comes first.”
Census Bureau figures have a direct impact on the number of representatives each state is allowed to have in Congress. With the corrected counts in hand, the House of Representatives welcomed back Texas representative Sheila Jackson-Lee, who had been working at a Baltimore-area Denny’s since a census announcement swung against her three months ago.
Congress may conduct a formal investigation over the errant population values. Harry Reid (D-NV-LV-1138-ZLR), the Senate’s Majority Leader, promised to “uncover the Bush-era policies that led to this failure that has a direct impact on the apportionment for all three congressional chambers, plus the four or five branches of government.”
But Margaret Hernandez-Hernandez, Public Apologies director of the Bureau’s Western States region, which includes the newly restored Spanish-speaking state of South California, placed the blame on technology. “Microsoft changed the Excel toolbar on us again, and frankly, the Washington-based company better get it restored now or they may find themselves with a sudden decrease in those classified as Asian or Pacific Islander.”