Prisoners are not the only temporarily absent population that intends to return home

by Peter Wagner, July 22, 2003

The State of Utah lost a potential 4th Congressional seat to North Carolina in 2000 after the Census Bureau counted overseas military in each state’s population, but refused to count over 14,000 Mormon missionaries as residents of Utah. The Census practice in regards to overseas military has been inconsistent, counting the military in 1970, 1990 and 2000 but not 1980. Other overseas populations are not counted.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the on-again military count was not arbitrary, a decision [Jerrold] Jensen [public affairs chief for the Utah attorney general] views as favorable for Utah.

“The general rule is you don’t count U.S. citizens living aboard because they may never come back, but the Census Bureau created an exception for the military,” Jensen said. “If you can create one exception, you can create two.”

Or three. Almost all prisoners will complete their sentences and return to their home communities. Like missionaries, prisoners will most definitely come back.


Ex-Utahn defends decision by bureau that cost state seat, by Elyse Hayes, Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah), January 10, 2001, p. A1

Leavitt may challenge Census count, may ask for Missionaries to be included in count, by Joe Baird, Salt Lake Tribune, January 6, 2001, p. A1

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