« The Weeds

Actual enumeration

2020-05-19

Dara, Jane, and Matt take a look at America's first pandemic Census.

Resources:

"The pandemic may leave communities of color undercounted in the census — and cost them billions" by Donna M. Owens, Vox

"Trump is still trying to collect citizenship data for redistricting" by Nicole Narea, Vox

"A once-in-a-century pandemic collides with a once-in-a-decade census" by Andrew Whitby, Brookings

"Over a million Hispanics turned white between the 2000 and 2010 Census" by Matthew Yglesias, Vox

White paper

Hosts:

Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior Correspondent, Vox

Jane Coaston (@cjane87), Senior politics correspondent, Vox

Dara Lind (@DLind), Immigration reporter, ProPublica

Credits:

Jeff Geld, (@jeff_geld), Editor and Producer

The Weeds is a Vox Media Podcast Network production

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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change our environment and working towards a better future, learn more it INDIGO com. Recode, I hate math. Is this really math its Mathy His father, I guess their numbers involved, counting is Math- is occurring, Hello, welcome to another episode of the weeds on a box media pipe cast network. I met replace. He is here which, in coastal or public as Dara, Lynde Waggonette switch things up. We're gonna do a pandemic white paper today, but then talk about something that, like much of american life, is impacted by the pandemic, but really is,
fundamentally a sort of broader concern, which is, we are doing a decennial census this year. Two thousand and twenty. These things happen every ten years and it's a great weeds topic, because officially the census is this kind of nerdy statistical exercise that attempts to ascertain how many people live in where they live, and you know some stuff about their households. But in fact it's always an incredible political hot button, because it's not sort of just for general interest like we might be curious. How many people live I know how, but the census is the basis for a lot of important political decision making at the allocation of money to different places, but also the allocation of political representation and ever since Donald Trump became president there's been a sort of series of controversy, is about I guessed era.
You probably know this best, but like the question of like, are they trying to under count immigrants in order to manipulate their representation right right along time. Weeds listeners will remember that when the Supreme Court was considering whether to allow the trumpet ministries- and to go forward with adding a citizenship question to the senses, we spent a certain amount of time talking about that, the fury of the case of why you would want to add a citizenship question is kind of twofold right. There is the argument that if red states wanted to use that information, you redraw their district maps when they have to do that anyway, in such a way that it counts enow eligible voters, instead of all people, that's going to relative to what we have now disappeared and eyes people in immigrant heavy areas. The other are
It is kind of a broader chilling effect argument that just being asked about citizenship would have made a lot of people living in particular, less likely to fill out their senses, forms at all and create a demographic skew that didn't previously exists. What you have to remember again about the senses, like we talk about a lot of social science on the weeds, so there is a certain extent to which you can it assume that if you, Oh, that there is a gap in your data. You can bottle your way out of it, or at least try to do so. The census does not allow that form of modelling. Does not. You can't do any kind of sawdust statistical imputation. So if there is a worry that there's going to be a certain scheme in the data, in terms of whose sending their forms back to you, are willing to answer the door, that's going to be a problem now, as you probably recall, the Supreme Court, from you're not allowed to on this super constrained time schedule and without having offered any valid reason
even tried to present a valid reason. You can't just add the citizens. Your question, The concern in terms of the chilling effect is that the damage has already been done. The thing about chilling effect is that not very easy to fix, with just having the new stories say that something isn't happening right. It requires a lot more trust, building and outreach to people who may not be as perfectly well informed as regular weeds listeners. The concern about the data side, the kind of using it for redistricting on the meanwhile, is that the Trump Administration reacted to defeat at the Supreme Court by issuing an executive order saying alright, everybody in the executive branch has to work together to do the best we can to map the census data onto citizenship data anyway,
and so even though you can't change the census results by imputing added citizenship, data from databases. The government already has depending on how exactly they do this? The government could produce official reports that say: hey the census says there are this many people in this area. We have reason to believe that a certain that x number of them aren't citizens and that fear radically. You know, subject to future Supreme Court litigation, I'm sure, but states could go from their right and then thinking outside of the issue fit issues facing undocumented folks, there's also just how electoral my maps are being drawn, there's an urge from the children ministration or a suggestion more or less when he announced the executive order regarding the distance, Spiro, estimating citizenship data using state records that you could draw electoral districts and twenty twenty one based on where eligible voters.
If not based on total population, which would, I think some social scientists have argued said that that would basically hand more power to rural republican areas. I take it away from a highly democratic urbanized areas, which has been a concern all the all this time about this particular census. It's interesting now to have gone through a multiple census. Taking environments that take place in a specific and political context. I dont know if listeners remember that twenty ten census, which were is very much in the era of the tea party. I was very much of an era of the government asking a lot of questions about where people live was being a big concern for some people. But now it's interesting because now it's a different administration, and so some of the concerns from some have been specific
lessons right? The fundamental policy importance of the senses is, for one thing: this electoral redistricting policy, and there you know just to go over some things that most people are probably familiar with. You know the federal government tells state Based on your census data, here's, how many congressional representatives you get and then states are responsible for drawing you know their lines based on their own assessments of you know what that data says so the kind of ratchet this creates for what Jane was talking about with rural or public. An advantage is states that are controlled by Republicans, but that our growing, demographically, due to non republican Demographics, Texas, being like the paramount example of this Texas, is expected, gained congressional seats in the neck census, and it's not because there are more rural republicans who are.
Moving into being born in the state, so they are going to get their top line state number from the federal government and then get to use it to you know best advantage incumbents best advantage. The incumbent party best advantage the kinds of that they want to empower with the Voting Rights ACT. Providing not super clear at this point check given the end of the requirement for dear J, too, you know clearer maps in advance to actually stop that from happening. So there's that There is also the concern about the number of federal and state probing is where money is dispersed based on the census, reports, the population and that's a lot of the argument that gets made in these kind of grass roots outreach campaigns. You know in twenty two, there were big
campaigns about like. If we don't know how many children we have, how do we know how many schools we need that sort of inner? How do we know how many playgrounds we need? Not nobody says on their posters, it's important to fill out your senses form so that we can draw state legislative districts that are more favourable to us like what they emphasise is. We need to get our huh money, we need to get our education money and it supports like its both of those things and traditionally the desire to get local programme. Funding has been like that. Actually, at a time, on the impulse to manipulate things politically that you know whatever it is you think about whose voting for whom in Ohio you like kind. I want your numbers to be high so that you can get money from federal grant for me The stripe right. You certainly don't want people not responding to the census in Ohio in Area where they wouldn't be voting for you, when you
let them to respond to the senses and then, like you in the state legislature, can Do whatever your stuff laws and federal courts. Allow you to do to register. I think, too, to step back. You know back to the the eighteenth century or whatever that one of the things that happened is that, for there used to be like the Sensus and now over time we ve developed, sort of to set censuses since I or Samantha right. Where do I will then size? Are you know you know they? Ve worked the constitution in the late eighteenth century and it says that every ten years there has to be this enumeration of the population and that work. Use that to decide. Have any house districts, everybody gets so that's all pretty Lucy Goosey and they start doing an end. This you know infamously three fifths compound
eyes, and so they have to set up a government department, the Census Bureau, to do this anymore, it in and then short of it first blush. It's like ok as long as we have people going around trying to count how many people live here and there we should have them. Also ask some other questions. That know might be of interest, and so, if you look up old census, forms it'll like say what jobs people have and other things like that. It's because You have this constitutional mandate to conduct the census. Its also smart to have the census, collect statistical information about the United States of America, overtime, technology changes, statistical techniques get developed and they start saying. Look, there's lots of good ways to get survey information about what's happening in America. That don't require you to knock on every single persons door and fill out a form saying like yours, what's goin on here and so that the census bureaus
but becomes increasingly elaborate like the senses, beer publishes, monthly retail trade statistics. You may have read in the newspaper this week that purchases at furniture stores fell. Eighty nine percent- that's the Census bureau, like that's what the census does and so decades ago. The idea came forward that since these statistical techniques, are powerful and since, if you try to run around counting every single human being, you are guaranteed that you're going to undercount because, like you just will miss some people and you're not going to say it mistakenly think a pigeon. Is a human being. Is it ok? Will we should use statistical, inferences to estimate the total size of the american population
The view of the statisticians was that this would reduce under counting and particularly, would reduce under counting of immigrants of people who have unstable housing of African Americans think things like that, and so that was going to sort of blow up the numbers of democratic leaning, cities in particular, and so Republicans litigated, and legislated to say that no, the constitutional senses requirement, is that you have an actual enumeration of the population, not a statistical inference, and they kind of won the day, and so now we have the sort of two parallel stream. These two different things the Census Bureau does,
what is this ongoing effort to collect statistical information about the United States of America, including population estimates of cities and counties and states, and then the other, is thus census. Court on quote that comes about every ten years, and disconnecting these things had a lot of virtues like from the standpoint of not letting partisan pilot fix hamstring, statistical data collection, but it also now raises a lot of questions about the basic integrity of the official senses, because the stuff that stakeholders need, like american businesses like having accurate data about. What's going on, you would be very inconvenient if there was good way to look up how many people live in live island right like right
want to know that kind of stuff, but now that that all of that is done totally separately from the official census. It's like the is the limit in terms of monkey business. And so it's like. If the people running the government, like don't, actually want people who live in cities to be counted, not in charge of running this survey and they're, not really motivated to have the survey be accurate That's where the suspicion about things like a citizenship. Question comes right like simply sing like it would be good to know how many of the people living in different places for immigrants is like completely legitimate right like good. This is a piece of information. People have all kinds of totally valid reasons,
look up, but the concern is that not just that it might lead to under count, but that you might want to create under counted, because it's not relevant to just the sort of curiosity question of like how many people in Idaho or Foreign born it is this kind of much more specific, much more politicized thing in a way that you don't becomes very troubling. Yeah does that mean, and and this is also where the concern about you now- I know that in theory this is supposed to be a corona virus. Episode it's really hard to talk about this without talk without thinking about four one. Thing? The fact that whether to have face to face interactions with people is currently a subjective, some political violence? and also on the other hand, the fact that both the state and federal budgets are going to look totally.
Different than we thought they were going to look when census forms got shipped out pre April first, which was you know, census date seems both that states are going to need any help they can get in terms of people filling out census form and that spending priori these are just going to look totally different, because you know the federal government has spent good Julian's approximately of dollars on things that aren't the bread and butter a census tracked Ray social programs where having having maximal numbers really counts. Yeah I mean We take it, take a break and then talk about about pandemic issues. Specifically, I think that the fact that that the contacts we gotta get to Have you having trouble media your goals, focusing work if you have feeling Strasser having trouble sleeping better help is here for you, it's not a self help class inside a crisis line better help is secure online professional
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not a lender terms and programme rules apply sunlight, convenient way. This was the cycle that the Senses Bureau decided. They wanted to finally make the switch to trying to do the census, primarily on line totally separate from the pandemic, but that the twenty ten census, even though the internet was a well established technology at that point was still mostly done as a sort of pen and paper through the mail kind of thing, and the decision was made for Many twenty we're going to try to do an online census, then when the census happened to converge with a pandemic at. I think that was that was probably nice and you know a lot of people. I did my senses online. I hope you guys dead. Help anybody listening to this. What will do it? It's really quick and easy. It is the cheapest way for the government to survey you. It does not involve any one doing anything potentially hazardous.
We are all spending more time sitting around. I possess these days it's a moderately entered so, in a way that was like a small blessing, but it had there were long standing questions about like how well with this actually work, because it's not what people were used to the idea. Infrastructure people had a lot of questions about, because sometimes government websites don't function, but it seems to have gone fine right, like the air. I had read a lot of Cairo hazy worries about this, but if the website works I mean, not, everybody has done it, but you've always had a thing it used to be. They would just mail something to you and you were supposed to mail it back, but lots of people wouldn't and so then the census needs to try to send people around to sort of find you
nor member I used to live in a big apartment building and the woman who live next door. To me. I don't know why, like she, hadn't handed in her senses form and in twenty ten, they were like dog it and they kept like China Hunter. They knocked on my door, they were like. Oh do you know where she is. I have no idea, you know it's a big city, I don't know her name anything like that, but that seems challenging under these circumstances, where I think people are Maybe less likely than usual to want to stop and chat with total strangers, knocking on their doors right and also, I think that the corona virus. We talk a little bit about the chilling effect of the Trump Administration's efforts to count undocumented people. But I also think that the pandemic itself has had a chilling effect on these numbers, because, even if you're supposed to practice social, distancing and avoid being in face to face contact with people, you don't know hello person from the census. Who is coming to your
to have a conversation with you face to face with a person. You do not know, and so I think that one of the challenges here also is that the census is a v. One Terry effort, and so much of this is based on not just responding to where people live or what. Are doing, but also to individuals across the country saying I will take part in this, and I have House Old Matt. You mentioned that you did I'm sure DORA has, but I think that the pandemic, it adds in an extra element of it fills a response to it and it fills a response
that was already, especially under administrations. I was thinking about this with a relation to something else that one of the challenges here is that for many people, the federal government that is orchestrating a census is the same federal government that they largely just stressed about most things for varied and frequently good reason, and so I think that one of the major challenges here is not just that the coronavirus pandemic has Census data collection into question, but that it is added another series of questions to an already. I think for many people confused, Interaction with the government, then, of course there's the whole fact that the census is one of the big temporary employers in the country, the higher of census. Takers. That people who are supposed to be doing follow
As for those who, you know, don't feel out, their senses forms initially. There is a certain process by which you know if you haven't received something from an address you're supposed to send somebody. You can't quite impute that someone is there if you don't get a census form from them, but you reign. The purpose of of kind of hiring this army of senses takers is to make sure that you ve done your darnedest. If you suspect some one might exist, who may not have filled out their senses form to get, to do so that hiring surge was happening. In March, on a well or you know it was happening in it- was through the first quarter of this year, but as like large trainings were happening there. Lots of concerns about, should we may be taken, online you know should can we can new to train when the first states were issuing enounced shelter in place orders that kind of thing
so not only has that being a massively disrupted timeline, although it's kind of getting back on track now, as you know, the senses, his kind of reconfigured it's time line, but also is another confounding factor in. What's been a massive economic collapse right in, in which a lot of people who really needed jobs at the beginning of this year, weren't getting checks the when they thought they were gonna be getting paychecks, because their senses duties were you know, is that they were essentially like pre fur load they're, because there, because census work was suspended for a time There is also in states that are hiring a lot of contact tracers. You know June. Of of the available pool are you, you know if you sign up to be a contract tracer, because you didn't think your senses job was coming in and then the census actually does ramp up higher
it's probably not the most substantial population, but it certainly does raise questions now that we have these kind of two simultaneous public sector. Hiring search is going on Oh one of my questions, you no way back when it became clear that there were a lot of people losing work in the first weeks of shut down. Orders was what this was going to do to census. Limit, which is typically, I think, big enough, that you can actually see it in jobs. Reports not tell me if I'm wrong like it's. It's is substantial. And so we now you know this is it. This is now something that is in theory getting back on line but probe, but in a more physically attention, did form such that the kind of me of Dore knockers that are the boy of the hiring are probably not going to be as big a boost as they would have been in an economy that needed the much less.
Yeah, I says, is heard used wrongly huge and any need to do as statistical adjustment stirring senses years to sort of catch the underlying thread of the economy, because it really distorts it, and so I had on my assignment, lest as of late February, to write about the challenge of doing census, hiring in a full employment economy which actually had happened since a way back really in the nineteen sixty census, at which point the female labour force participation rate was much much lower and there was this kind of pool of like moms you, a dip into adds to do door, not getting I'm so it was. It was interesting. I had some good to get source is that people who have worked on the census in high levels in the past. I wish you that is all become boot. It is not challenging define people
have been laid off or temporarily followed to go work. I so the question remains: how going forward would you conduct a census? in an economy with a very low unemployment rate and no pool of unemployed homemakers at attitude the world may never now. This is one of these things where you know. I feel a little monkeys, paw about it a little. Savages just going over, that the stats Wade SOAP so last around sixty six point: five percent of households self reported on the census, I'm so far, we are at fifty nine points. Percent self Report, so we are running a bit behind. There is still more time laughed ass, a really. If you have not filled out your senses online, you should you should like ask your friends about their site. It's it's important! It's it's good to now the champion State Minnesota, as at almost seventy percent, but the worst
it is the last guy down it a mere forty percent. This is all sort of available up online. Add that the Senses Bureau has a tab low, a public tumblr page that has the site how great dashboard you can see everything about what's going on. I am also shows that, even though there is incredible amount of concern specifically about under counting in areas and particularly of urban, now light populations most to the lowest respond states are places like Alaska, Virginia Wyoming me in Vermont, actually very, were all and very white places. I assume, because the internet connectivity levels are so much worse there, yet that is began back in January, was was kind of kicked off a a native village Alaska. But those are the areas where basic internet
activity and any face to face interaction even before it. Corona virus would be extraordinarily difficult if you live and you know, or fair banks or even in new rural West. Reaching a lot of this was deeply challenging anyway, and there I think that that's going to be the thing, because there has been, as mentioned earlier, there's been a lot concern about urban areas and under counting, especially because of losing potential funding, but I think that in rural areas, the rural areas that you would think many Republicans would want extra focus on as kind of the cementation of political power through that means there are not getting very much assistance there I mean this is also where the kind of two phase nature of the senses makes it difficult to tell what is like gosh. This is a really dumb analogy, but it's the one thinking of zone in IRAN with it.
Same way. They, when you look at some one presenting at Fort liked for a temperature check for corona virus. You can't tell just relax temperature check if there s a domestic or prison like if they're going to develop symptoms because they're still carrying the virus. You can't necessarily tell at this particular snapshot in time which of the places with low response rates, are still going to have low response rates once the second in person phase the census fully ramps outbreak in communities where traditionally, you dont have a high response phase that is self initiated, but one senses takers come through. You know they get a lot of people to fill out forms right now we haven't seen the full effect of that kind of
Second phase of thanks to the big question is: if it normal years, you're community is likely to have a lot of added people showing up once the census taker completes the physical rounds this year with the census take her coming later because of corona virus. Is there also going to be a fear of in out encountering surrenders and a desire, essentially distance etc. That is going to make it less likely to answer the door or, if you're, in a rural area. Are you fairly convinced that your well insulated and you know either radiological or Lake Legion. Legal reasons, less worried about opening the door to somebody, you dont know way a wine you, don't you show them The sentences official response to the pandemic issue has been to sort of pushed the timelines back a couple of months, and that I mean I don't wanna just get back into like baseline, colonel
podcasting, but it's just sort of raises the question of what do we expect that shift of the time window to achieve right, that a lot of implicit thinking about many things, that's going on, seems to just sort of suggest by this fall? The situation will be dramatically different or better than it is now oh and so disconnect shifting into later in the year will solve problems related to the pandemic it's, not in any way obvious that that's true, I many might be true right like I, I can't forecast the future above like when you talk to the vaccine. People they're not saying like vaccines, can be on the shelf by Labour Day and when you talk to people who are interested in whether there saying, if anything it'll be worse, come fall were nowhere near like I heard immunity type level on this,
and we don't even know again, if heard, immunity is possible or if that's the thing or if you can have it multiple times, and no. This is not a corona virus pod to cast, but everything. Around a virus podcast nowadays aiming honestly. This is something that I've been thinking about. A little bit tears in her eyes, working on a peace that is totally unrelated to this, but that also requires doing a little bit of remember. We, learning new things every week in March, and so something that looks really dumb and non responsive from the perspective of May was in fact the cutting edge of our understanding in March. The census bureaus response was a very, very quintessential early to MID March response right. It's or it was the response of like competent, intelligent people who were seeing a lot of things about the importance of flat
the curve so that hospitals wouldn't be overwhelmed and there would be manageable load of corona virus cases for a longer period of time. So, in that respect, yeah spreading things out over a longer amount of time, not having this very concentrated burst. Of one person going from house to house to house to house to house. Doesn't make a certain amount of sense because yes, you're going to be spreading Those interactions in such a way that you are reducing the The total number of infections by a little bit, but what's more important, is the or reducing the number of infections at any one time. That has both kind of receded in importance to a certain extent, as the attention has begun to shift to what we
take to return to some semblance of normality that wouldn't you know, rocket the economy into the ground and it assumed a certain amount of speedy government responds on things like testing. That would allow for a quicker resumption that hasn't yet He realized rate like there were a lot of things that a lot of people did including parts of the federal government in early to MID March, to build the space for the rest of the federal government to come up with the corona virus response, and part of that was what the Census Bureau did and the rest of the federal government was not forthcoming.
Yes, I mean. The flip side is like the you know. The data has been good over the past few weeks. I mean it could be the case that it's fine to connect this distance from afar about, but I think dares point is the right one that, like the original plan, was made on the basis of assumptions that and multiple different directions have become no longer operative. Should you think the current philosophy in many states- and I think a growing number of states is like it doesn't matter if the Pandemic Centre control or not. We're gonna just do more staff and kind of hope for the best, and that's where I think you worry me: there's a public health concern, but I mean and accuracy concern than kind of peeps in consumer knife
heard in a lot of quotes. Gonna like frustrated open it up. Tight people are like look like if you want to stay home, that's fine but, like I wanna go out and there's like a question of. Does that work, public health, wise, but a really doesn't work data collection? Why scrite? Because we're saying ok people are Just- can make their own choice is about their individual vulnerability, but if you are seventy five and like many seventy five year old not necessarily the most like internet fluent person, who is like really like an early adopter of new census technologies, you may be given the message that, like things are, putting up- and you are supposed to isolate at home for your own good- people come at the door and they like. While I want to ask you like about where you live,
I knew you were born and it's really important because we need the funding for the schools like a the gear. Maybe I can get you mean we're not gonna. Do the ride like in a super understandable way, especially because the official message you may be receiving it. You shouldn't do that, even while people are saying you to do the senses and then that's on top of, like traditional concerns about people with unstable housing or low levels of sort of trusted in the government, its It's weird to be doing this at a time when we are anticipating. Now, I think not, a society wide move, unsocial distancing, but a kind of Individualized, you do what you want. You make an individual risk assessment because you always know like no matter what the objective level of risk is. Five percent of people are going to be way more paranoid,
then the leading experts say you should be ready, mean right now. We mostly when we talk about public health, were talking about the people who are less cautious, that the experts say you should be but like on any issue like whenever experts say you should be doing, is like a range of like actual human responses to that. And you know it's a country of millions of people and the nature of this methodology. Is it like? You really are supposed to get legal literally every knows counted, and if people are ducking other people cause there's no like society wide measures to maintain safety and just seems inevitable. There are people go missing, I mean the internet way is super easy, like gonna wanna, under play, that, unlike you, could do it on your phone and all kinds of stuff, but like some people, don't don't have that sovereign and particularly, I think older people like you know, even if they do have smartphones like to know how to use the men enemy
cases don't have, and it then piles on with the fact that it. It's are obvious to me that, like the president and the other before his working with year, like even care or want to population to be counted accurately makes a very disturbing. It's like it's hard to do well under the best of circumstances. And it's like their baby, not gonna. Try. I will say that if you look back at news coverage from previous to Cynthia, it is high traditional, even in like normal senses, times to have a wave of coverage about under counting, is a big problem in its particularly a problem in already disadvantaged areas, unlike what, if be under count, is so bad this year that it really skews the shape of the census. Broadly speaking,
has not panned out in the way that kind of the most worried people believed. Yes, there are concerns about under counting by. We don't have evidence from previous censuses of the kind of differential skew that makes, things really problematic, because at the end of the day, the ways in which the census matters are distributed right there if everyone is under counted of roughly the same, except if all groups are underhanded roughly the same extent like no harm no foul. So you know it is worth trying to be saying that, while this time is different, sometimes you can project bad outcomes that do not necessarily occur in the census, does have a law wrong track. Record of that, that set, of course, that this time really is different and ex it's it's not specially, because no one can push the census, two posts talk
like skew the results one way or the other for better or worse. The question of ease the federal government investing in the kind of very resourceintensive outreach effort that has traditionally saved the are counting concerns from becoming real, like if your work reed about what message is being sent by elites regarding senses, participation, and you have an army of people on the ground saying no. No, no. Those concerns aren't real it in the past. That has been more or less efficient. So the question of what the
government is doing and can do to execute a traditional census operation that has the successes. The traditional census operations have is a big question and one that we don't necessarily have a lot of insight to, because the operation of all of this has changed so much in the last few months and for obvious reasons, Congress, which has a pretty strong incentive to do robust senses. Oversight has had other things on its mind right, and I think that This census was as die, has detailed and, as we have talked about with pre corona virus already so fraught in terms of YO, counting undocumented votes, but also how cities were to be perceived and how congressional districts we're going.
Drawn and how existing population changes were going to be cemented and sends its population changes that we already knew about thinking about the trends that we ve noticed across the board and of whose moving where and how that impact. What politics will look like how cities have grown? What cities have grown? All this information, and we re looking to the senses to either say this is at continuing as expected, or this is the end point that we thought we might get. Or this is the input we didn't know we would get, and all of that was already going to take place and we had a pandemic and now we're in this space where the information we need to prove the point that so many of us have been focused on or thinking is going to be? No one necessarily needs to dispute right? It's not like. We need to settle this argument. We don't get to enter the answer. Even if we all know it until we ve shown our work. Yes, this is the most
infuriating algebra threat tests to ever where we know why the cities of El Paso, Houston, Dallas Nasty, have increased in size, but apparently we have to like show the exponent to prove why it happened, and now we can't do that effectively because of a pandemic. I hate math. Is this really math its Massey, its feathers? Their numbers involved, dont like em, so that is that is like math is math. J voting is not ok. Let's have a care here without its bite. Might my five year old? I guess this move beyond the counting,
is his math education, but it was in there. I want you, could it that want a quantitative skills, gas, exactly! Ok, let's, let's take a break, let's secular white paper, which has some are somewhat complicated. Math support for this episode comes from America's leading beverage companies who are working together to reduce plastic waste in our environment. Not all plastic is the same. America's beverage companies are carefully designing. One hundred percent recyclable plastic bottles, including the cap's their bottles, are made to be remained, and they are investing in community recycling programmes to help get more bottles back, so they can be turned into materials used to make new bottles that completes the circle and reduces plastic waste. Please help
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Media there was a lot of concern ray. Is that allowing people to vote in person would spread? Corona virus significantly also concern that people to avoid getting grown virus wooden vote at any rate, the election went forward. Democrats did not get their way in terms of absentee voting. Republicans lost the race anyway, so they did not get their way, which was to win, and now we have research as to whether these health fears were validated. Coming from the latter authors on this Chad Party, an angle heart Joshua Foster Eric Nelson and Paul s knee camp and they find that consolidating of pulling locations and in person voting has significantly increased positive testing rates two to three weeks after the election. So basically all the concerns that were raised here seem validated we can,
trace people with the level of granularity that would allow you to say, like yes, definitely covered positive people, went to vote and then spread the infection to other people there. But we can tell that, with the two to three week lag that you normally look for these kinds of things that the places where there was more in person voting had borne infections such were seems like what people feared was gonna happen did in fact go happen. I mean the Good NEWS. Is it didn't like subs Only rage like wildly out of control, like was confident, become the next New York are or whatever. Yeah, like a bunch of people, got sick. Potentially some people died. Several publicans could try to win a race that they lost anyway. I think one piece of this that was particularly interests,
is that they mention towards the end about location consolidation and that the idea of voting clerks want to make changes that lead to having fewer places to vote, that are more consolidated and easier in their view for them to handle. However, that increases voter density nets by big concern, even before a colonel virus, with respect to access to voting in many states, in which you have fewer places, to vote and longer lines at places to vote, which some people think is key. But also- and I think as less corn awesome, because I think more people should be given access to the vote at all times, because that's just how I am. But again, this is another case of the context.
Voting was already not great, and then there was a pandemic, and so I think that it's interesting how this paper gets a day. Idea of this is a policy consideration for county municipal clerks Voting consolidation could be consolidating voting locations could be a potential concern for covered nineteen, but that all he really matters to and municipal clerks. If the risk of transmitting covered nineteen is seen as being a bigger threat than the risk of a lot of people. Voting for people, perhaps there don't want them to vote for re. This, MRS also, where the question of who gets to vote absentee becomes relevant. There is substantial evidence that there are a lot of voters who vote earlier or vote absentee and that those aren't necessarily the people who are targeted by efforts to reduce earlier.
Absentee voting. If, in theory, you are the key, and of politician who is indifferent. The well being of people who didn't vote for you, which, admittedly, as lake a really terrible thing to say that anyone would be. But such a hypothetical person might not necessarily he'll is concerned about voting consolidation because a if you're, gonna scarce and people away from voting by not showing up in a long line, that's great and be if your voters are the ones who are putting their health, their health at risk. Maybe that's less of it certainty, that's horrible, and I'm not I'm not seeing that lake any politician, much less any specific politician involved in like figuring out this Wisconsin election actually had that calculus. It's just one of the ways that the unit question of which, like which lives matter, hurting her own. A virus right leg way
A magnitude of deaths is acceptable verses. When is it unacceptable takes on an avoidable political connotations? The wondering what I will say that is actually very heartening about this paper, though, is that we're talking about something that happened a matter of weeks ago, and not only is this already available as like a pre print on be our sight, but it's already got a fairly robust litter view section on all of them. Other evidence we have of when political, Ideological behaviour effects. Corona virus infection like there has been such a massive surge of intellectual energy toward corona virus, not just in the biological sciences of course, we ve seen this like wild proliferation of studies of infection and just a lot of energy being put to making science available much more quickly than standard academic gate keeping would allow it to be, but also in the Social Sciences. That's really
giving us a much more robust sense of what's going on right now than you typically sea, like if you're a journalist who wants to be grounded in social science of what you're writing about. You can actually be grounded in the social science of the thing you're writing about, because that's gonna take several years to develop and if you're lucky will cite you when it does. But in this case it really is possible to like make much more informed predictions in the first two seconds of this episode because of the kind of research that we're talking about in the third segment. Thank you, social scientists for taking the time to write, needs to do this research and write these papers. I saw a chart. He was like a was showing the exponential growth of Carano virus related papers at circulating in in pre print or or working paper form, and it is actually kind of funny. But yeah mania seems like academics. All across Amerika medic
Scientists, epidemiologists every body with social science, quantitative skills have sort of really been having a go at public thinks of different step to an extent you do I look at the and be our papers every week, and I sometimes wanna urge America's economists to slow down and published some research on other topics to add, because you gotta, thank you, Know- Firstly, the the economists out there in the audience about about marginal value and comparative advantage, and, and things like that, you know how many corona virus papers are. We expected to read any given weak just just kind of find the good ones? You know what right? Yes, social scientists of America should be on notice that, like this year, we did a crown of this week. We that occur in a virus paper, but you know we're problem. We're looking for something different extremes, exactly we are ready to hear new research on other topics where we are
are our inbox is open? Facebook group is ready to discuss. We are here. We are ready for the great latest and greatest and social science you some Swedish administrative data would really make this time path slim worrying issue. Administrative data, ok, but spent Swedish administrative data now would just be telling us more more covered stuff right, may the suffrage. Admittedly, rate of data is set out in such a hot spot. Fur like yelling about corona virus is actually a really good way. We should we we, how we owe it to every one. If you are a listener who knows of a corona virus paper that draws on swedish administrative data, please send it to us, then out of a god. We should do that one outside. So thanks guys thanks everybody out there listening thanks as always to Jeffrey yelled, our producer,
We will return on Friday.
Transcript generated on 2021-05-19.