Box 7-2

Kansas Census Adjustment

Article 10, Section 1 of the Kansas state constitution dictates that state senatorial and representative districts be apportioned using population totals that count “military personnel stationed within the state” and “students attending college and universities within the state” at their permanent residence. Military personnel and college students currently stationed in the state who are not Kansas residents are to be excluded from the counts. [Enabling legislation would later define “permanent residence” as “a fixed place of abode or fixed domicile which a person intends to be such person’s residence and to which such person presently intends to return” and “resident” as “a person who declares that he or she is a resident of the state of Kansas and has a present intent to remain in the state.”]

Added to the constitution through a popular referendum in 1988, the constitutional provision changed the apportionment date from the seventh year to the second year of each decade (e.g., 1992, 2002, and so forth), and indicated that the apportionment is to be done by modifying figures from the U.S. decennial census. Kansas’ secretary of state reported the adjusted 2000 census totals to the state legislature in July 2001 (Thornburgh, 2001).

Respondents were advised that “your answers should reflect your residence as of census day: April 1, 2000.” Respondents were asked for address information of both their “current college/military address’ and their “permanent residence.” Notes in Thornburgh (2001) indicate that “many adjustment questionnaires were returned with duplicate responses to the current and permanent address questions,” suggesting some confusion with the questionnaire instructions. The questionnaire also included a question on whether the respondent would be 18 years or older by April 1, 2000, and a question on race and Hispanic origin (the latter questions asked using the same categories and one-or-more options as the 2000 census). Questionnaires were distributed by staff at colleges and military installations; some schools preferred to provide administrative data electronically rather than distribute questionnaires, and this was permitted if the provided information was deemed to satisfy the needed criteria. Questionnaires and data were to be returned by June 1, 2000. All Kansas colleges and military installations participated, although Fort Leavenworth initially refused; subsequently, Fort Leavenworth refused to actively participate in distributing and collecting questionnaires, but did permit state officers to do that work.

Addresses (both “permanent” and “current”) reported on the questionnaires were geocoded and assigned to census blocks; counts aggregated by census block, age (17 and younger, 18 and older), and race were then added to or subtracted to block-level counts from the 2000 census P.L. 94-171 redistricting data file. Thornburgh (2001) notes particular difficulty in the 2000 processing, since the Kansas questionnaire results were tabulated by 1990 census block and the P.L. 94-171 data were in the new 2000 census tabulation geography; the new boundaries were not available early enough for state processing. The state also encountered 259 census blocks where—post-adding or subtracting students and prisoners—the population count was negative; 818 blocks had negative counts when the block count was further subdivided by race. The state was able to resolve some of the largest such deviations and issued a letter to the Census Bureau regarding the others.

The Kansas adjustment in 1990 yielded a total net decrease of 32,194 (1.30%) for the state apportionment population; the 2000 adjustment yielded a net decrease of 16,161 (0.60%).

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