Unittvi States Genera1 Accounting Office Report to the Honorable GAO Connie Mack, U.S. Senate September 1990 FEDERAL FORMULA PROGRAMS Outdated Population Data Used to Allocate , Most Funds GAO/Hl23MO-I 45 united state.9 GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20648 Human Resources Division B-237186 September 27,199O The Honorable Connie Mack United States Senate Dear Senator Mack: This report responds to your request that we identify federal formula programs that use outdated population data to distribute funds to state and local governments. As you observed, the use by many programs of decennial census population data when more current population esti- mates are available penalizes fast-growing states. In discussions with your staff, we agreed to l identify all formula programs that use Bureau of the Census population data to distribute funds, l determine what population data and data sources federal agencies used and were required to use to distribute funds, and s determine whether the Census Bureau has provided or could provide more current population data for federal programs now using popula- tion data from the decennial census. *Scope and Bureau decennial census population data or current population esti- Methodology mates to determine program eligibility or distribute funds to state and local governments in fiscal year 1989. To ensure that we identified all programs, we reviewed the General Services Administration’s 1989 Cat- alog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA), its 1989 Federal Formula Report to the Congress, and the Advisory Commission on Intergovern- mental Relations’ October 1989 catalog of federal grant-in-aid programs. We also referred to our March 1987 report that lists federal formula grants as of 1984.’ We interviewed federal program managers to determine what popula- tion data and data sources they used to determine formula program eli- gibility or distribute funds. We asked them to specify the amount of funds distributed by the formula but not funds distributed by other ‘Grant Formulas: A Catalog of Federal Aid to States and Localities (GAO/HRD-87.28), Mar 23, 1987. Page 1 GAO/HBDso-14B AUocation of Federal Funds by Population B-237186 modeling procedures. Such data would affect 12 of the 33 programs where the decennial census data is the most current available. Census could not, however, provide intercensal data on urban and rural area populations that would be needed for most of the other programs. Proposed legislation (S. 477 and H.R. 1631) would require agencies to use the most recent population data for distributing federal formula funds. This legislation would affect only six programs (involving a total of $204 million out of $17.4 billion) because the remaining programs already use the latest available data or are required by statute to use the decennial census. Other issues would need to be addressed in the legislation to enable additional agencies and programs to use current population estimates. The Census Bureau publishes many types of data including population Background statistics that describe the number of inhabitants of an area and a wide variety of their social and economic characteristics, such as household composition and income. Information is divided into (1) state and sub- state population (county, city, metropolitan, urban, rural, and census tracts) and (2) population characteristics, such as age, sex, and race. Federal programs use some of these population statistics to allocate funds to states and communities. Some data are produced decennially, while others are estimated monthly, annually, or by some other time frame. Appendix I contains more detailed information on the Census Bureau activities and products. In fiscal year 1989,93 federal programs (listed in app. II) used Census Formula Programs Bureau population data, solely or combined with other formula factors, UShg POpUhtiOn Data to determine program eligibility or distribute funds totaling $27.5 bil- to Distribute Funds lion. Thirteen federal agencies administer these programs. Forty-five of the 93 programs used decennial census data to distribute Decennial Census 5 17.4 billion; the rest used current estimates from the Census Bureau to Used to Distribute distribute $10.1 billion (see app. III). Most Funds Thirty-three of the 45 programs allocated 5 16.7 billion using population data, such as the number of persons living in urban or rural areas or Page 3 GAO/HRD9&146 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population B-237186 to the states, saying that the use of annual data would result in fluctu- ating yearly funding. The authorizing statutes of 18 of the 45 programs specify the decennial Program Statutes census as the population data source to be used to distribute funds Specify Decennial totaling 56.4 billion (see app. VI). Twelve of the programs used either Census urban or rural population data to distribute $6 billion. The other six used the decennial census state population data even though more recent state population data are available. Authorizing statutes would need to be amended to remove the references to use the decennial census in order for the programs to use current data. - Nearly two-thirds of fiscal year 1989 federal formula funds were dis- Conclusion tributed, in whole or in part, using population data from the decennial census. In some cases, authorizing legislation required its use; in others, the decennial data were the most current data available. If the Congress wants all federal programs to distribute funds using current population data, it would need to amend authorizing statutes that require federal agencies to use decennial census data and specify how funds are to be distributed. Also, agencies using urban population and low-income data to allocate funds would need to develop alternative means for making such allocations as such data are collected only every 10 years. Legislation introduced in February 1989 in the Senate and in March 1989 in the House as the Fair Share Act of 1989 (S.477 and H.R.1631) would require federal agencies to use the most recent annual population data when determining the amount of benefits under federal programs for a state, county, or local unit of government. Other issues, as dis- cussed above, would need to be addressed in the legislation to enable additional agencies and programs to use current population estimates. In its deliberations on how best to distribute federal funds to the states, Matters for the Congress may wish to consider directing (1) affected program agen- Consideration cies to study the effects of using incorporated or metropolitan area data by the Congress rather than urban data to allocate formula funds, and (2) the Bureau of the Census to study t,he feasibility of estimating the low-income popula- tion data on a more current basis. Depending on the outcome of these efforts, the Congress then could consider whether it should amend authorizing statutes to remove requirements that federal agencies use urban and rural population or low-income data from the decennial Page 6 GAO/HRDM-146 Allocation of Federal Fhnds by Population Page 7 GAO/HRD9@146 Allocation of Federal Funda by Population Appendix VI 20 Programs Required to Use Decennial Census Data Appendix VII Comments From the Department of Commerce Appendix VIII Major Contributors to This Report Abbreviations Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Childrtv Catalog of Fwkral Domestic Assistance page 9 GAO/HRD-90-146 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population Appendix I Bureau of the Census Population Data The reports present various statistics for blocks, census tracts, block numbering areas, general-purpose local governments, rural and farm areas, urbanized areas, metropolitan statistical areas, congressional dis- tricts, states, and American Indian and Alaska Native areas. Current population data from the Census Bureau provide recent esti- Current Population mates of population size and characteristics, population projections, and Data the results of special censuses of local areas. They consist of two general categories: (1) survey data and (2) estimates, projections, and special censuses. Much of the current population data are derived from the Current Popu- lation Survey, a household sample survey of the civilian noninstitutional population. The survey’s primary purpose is to produce monthly statis- tics on unemployment and the labor force. The survey also is the source of a series of three publications dealing with population characteristics (the P-20 series), special studies (the P-23 series), and consumer income (the P-60 series). A monthly survey of income and program participa- tion, conducted since October 1983, produces information for household economic studies (the P-70 series). The Current Population Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation are generally available only at the national level. Another Census Bureau statistical program prepares updated popula- tion figures. Using population statistics from censuses and administra- tive records, the Bureau prepares population estimates, projections, and special studies. These include intercensal estimates of population and per capita income, projections of the population, and data from special censuses of local areas. Population estimates and projections (the P-25 series) include monthly national estimates of the population; annual state population estimates by age, sex, race, and geographic area; and national and state population projections. Local population estimates (the P-26 series) include population estimates for counties and metropol- itan areas and population and per capita income estimates for local gov- ernment jurisdictions. Special censuses (the P-28 series) generally are taken at the request and expense of city or other local governments. Page 11 GAO/IIBIMW146 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population Appendix I3 Program Using Census Bureau Population Data to Allocate Funds (FY 1989) Funding, CFDA no. Program FY 1989 13.671 Family Vrolence Preventron and Servrces 7.6 13.672 - ___~. Chrld Abuse Challenge Grants 48 13.673 Grants to States for Planning and Development -~~~ of Dependent Care Programs _____.~. 11.8 13.991 B Preventrve Health ~.____~ and Health Servrces Block Grant-Rape 3.5 ._____ 13.992 ~.____. ~. Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Servrces Block Grant 435.3 13.994 Maternal and ChrldHealthS?Block Grant ~..- 465.3 Total $4.540.2 Department of Housing and Urban Development 14.218 Communrty Development Block Grants Entrtlement Grants RO53.1 14.219 ~__.~~ Communrty Development Block Grants. Small Crtres Program 38.4 14 221 Urban Development Action Grants 101 0 14.228 Communrty Development Block Grants Slate s Program 841.5 14.230 Rental Housrng Rehabrlitatron ~~~~~~____- 148.5 Total $3.182.5 Department of Interior 156118 Wildlrfe Restoration-Hunter Safety and Education $20.6 15.916 Outdoor Recreatron-Acquisrtron, Development, and Plannrng 16.7 Total $37.3 Department of Justice 16.540 Juvenile Justrce and Delrnouencv Preventron-Allocatron to States $45 A -~ .- ~..~~ 16575 Crrme Vrctrm Assrstance ___- __~ 43.5 16.579 State and Local Narcotrcs Control Assrstance 118.8 Total $209.1 Department of Labor __-__- 17 235 Senior Community Service Employment Program $141 6 17 247 Mrgrant and Seasonal Farmworkers 66.2 17 250A Job Tralnlng PartnershIp Act, Title II-A, Basic Program 1,747 1 17 2508 Job Tralnlng PartnershIp Act, Title II-B, Summer Youth 686 3 17.251 Nahve American Employment and Tralnlng Programs .-___ 590 Total $2,700.2 Department of Transportation 20 106B Arrport Improvement Program. State Apportronments $155.1 20.205C Highway Planntng and Construction Primary System 2,313 2 -..- ~ 20.205D Hrohwav Plannrna and Construction Rural Secondarv 5R4 7 20.205E Hlghway Planning and ConstructIon Urban System 730.4 20.205F Highway Planning and ConstructIon Urban Transportation Planning 47 3 (conhnued) Page 13 GAO/HRD-90-146 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population Appendix II Program8 Using Census Bureau Population Data to Allocate Funds (FY 1989) Funding, CFDA no. Program FY 1989 84.049 Vocational Education: Consumer and Homemakrng Educatron 32.8 84.053 Vocational Educatron: State Councrls 7.9 84.126 Rehabilitation Servrces: Basrc Suooort 1.446 4 84 151 Federal, State, and Local Partnershtps for EducatIonal Improvement 463 0 84 154 Publrc Lrbrary Constructron 22 2 84.161 Clrent Assistance for Handicapped lndivrduals 78 84.164 State Grants for Strengthenrng the Skulls of Teachers and Instructron In Mathematrcs and Science 195 84.169 Comprehensive Serwes for Independent Lrwng 12.7 84174 Vocational Education, Communrty Based Organrzatrons 8.9 84.176 Paul Douglas Teacher Scholarshrps 166 84.186 Drug-Free Schools and Communrties: State Grants 287.7 84.187 Supported Employment Serwces for lndrwduals wrth Severe Handicaps 27.2 84.196 State Activitres, Education of Homeless Chrldren andYouth 4.8 84.223 State-Admrnistered English Lrteracy 44 Total $7.378.8 Grand total $27.494.7 Page 16 GAO/HlUMW-146 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population Appendix IV Programs for Which Decennial CensusData Were the Latest Available Dollars in millrons CFDA no. Program Population base Deoartment of Aoriculture 10.203 Payments to Agr&ftu&e Expenment Stations Under Hatch Rural; Farm Act 10.205 Payments to 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Tuskegee Rural; Farm University 24 3 10.418 Water and Waste Disposal Systems for Rural Communrtres Rural, Rural, below poverty level 97.5 10.420 Rural Self-Helc Housrna TechnIcal Assrstance Rural, below 10,000 8.5 10.427 Rural Rental Assistance Payments Rural; Rural families-below poverty level 275 3 10.433 Rural Housrno Preservabon Grants Rural 19.1 10.500 Cooperative Extension Servrce Rural; Farm 276.8 10 557A Specral Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, prs;s potentially eligrble to partrcrpate Chrldren 1,927 -4 10.568 Temporary Emergency Food Assistance (Adminrstratrve Persons in households below poverty Costs) level 50 0 10569 Temporary Emergency Food Assrstance (Food Commodrtres) Persons rn households below poverty level 1200 10571 Food Commodities for Soup Krtchens -- Fv;ons rn households below poverty $40.0 Department of Health and Human Services 13 183 Federal Assrstance for Rural Hosprtals to Improve Health County, between 73,550.74,000 and Care between 17,500.17,550 14 13 600 Administratron for Chrldren, Youth, and Famrlies-Head Start Chrldren aged O-5 in famrlres below ~ poverty 519.4 13 992 Alcohol, Drua Abuse and Mental Health Servrces Block Urban, aged 18 -24, 2544, 25-64 years Grant - 435.3 13.994 Maternal and Chrld Health Servrces Block Grant Low-Income children 465.3 Department of Housing and Urban Development 14.221 Urban Development Action Grants Population growth lag of citres and urban countres 101 0 Department of Labor 17.247 Mrarant and Seasonal Farmworkers Farmworkers In poverty 66.2 17.250A Job Training Partnershtp Act, Trtle II-A, Basrc Program ____~~ Below poverty level _ ~-.-. 1,747.l 17.2508 Job Trainrnq Partnership Act Trtle II-B, Summer Youth Below poverty 6863 17 251 Native Amerrcan Employment and Training Programs Indians and Native Amencans below poverty level 59 0 Department of Transportation 20.205C Highway Plannrng and Constructron Primary System Rural, Urban 2.313.2 20.2050 Hiohwav Plannrnq and Constructron Rural Secondary Rural 584.7 (continued) Page 17 GAO/lIRD90-146 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population Programs Using Decennial CensusWhen Later Data Were Available (FY 1989) Dollars tn millrons _~.____ Funding, Decennial census CFDA no. Program FY 1989 specified in statute Department of Health and Human Services 13 614 Chtld Develooment Assoctate Scholarshtos $1 5 No 13.991 B Preventtve Health and Health Services Block Grant-Rape ___. 3.5 No Department of the Interior - 15.6118 Wtldltfe RestoratIon-Hunter Safety and Education 20.6 Yes - ~.___.___~. 15.916 -_____.. Outdoor Recreatton-Acqursttton, Development and Planntng 16.7 No Department of Transportation 20 106B ____-.~~ Atroort Improvement Proaram State Apportionments 155 1 Yes _____~ 20.205H Highway Planntng and Constructton Hrghway Safety Programs 99 Yes 20.2051 --___. Hrghway Planntng _____~~~~ ~~~~and Constructton ~~~ ~ Hazard ~~_~~Elrmtnatron 1666 Yes 20 218 Motor Carrter Safety Assistance Program 467 No - 20 600 State and Community Htghway Safety 81 1 Yes ._____ Environmental Protection Agency .__ 66.001 Air Pollutron Control Program Support $101.5 No Department of Energy ~ -- --A~--- 81.050 Enerav Extenston Service 4.0 Yes 81.052 Energy Conservatton for lnstttutronal BulldIngs 34.4 No -______- Total $841.8 Note Allocatrons for all these programs were based, rn whole or rn part, on state populatron Page 19 GAO/HRNW146 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population Appendix VII Comments From the Department of Commerce UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE The Aasirtant Secretary for Administration Washngton D.C. 20230 MS. Linda G. Morra Director, Intergovernmental and Management Issues U.S. General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Dear Ms. Morra: Thank you for your letter requesting comments on the draft report entitled, "Federal Formula Programs: outdated Population Data Used to Allocate Most Funds." We have reviewed the enclosed comments of the Director, Bureau of the Census and believe they are responsive to the matters discussed in the report. Sincerely, Xssistan Secretary for Ad inistration page21 GAO/HRDSO-14SAUoeationofFederalFundsbyPopulation Appendix W Comments Fran the Department of commerce MS. Linda G. Morra 2 (enclosed) as published in the 1980 Census of PODUlatiOn, "Number of Inhabitants." We appreciate this opportunity to comment on the draft report. Sincerely, 3a.J-w.. cu;\tt -Bya-- Barbara Everitt Bryant Director Bureau of the Census Enclosure page-23 GAO/HRLMM46 Allocation of Federal Fhnds by Population The following criteria are used in determining the eligibility and definition of the 1980 urbanized areaal: An urbanized area comprises an incorporated place' and adjacent densely settled surrounding area that together have a minimum population of 50,000.3 The densely settled surrounding area consists of: 1. Contiguous incorporated or census designated places having: a. A population of 2,500 or more; or, b. A population of fewer than 2,500 but having a population density of 1,000 persons per square mile, a closely settled area containing a minimum of 50 percent of the population, or a cluster of at least 100 housing units. 2. Contiguous unincorporated area which is connected by road and has a population density of at least 1,000 persons per square mile.4 3. Other contiguous unincorporated area with a density of less than 1,000 persons per square mile, provided that it: a. Eliminates an enclave of less than 5 square miles which is surrounded by built-up area. b. Closes an indentation in the boundary of the densely settled area that is no more than 1 mile across the open end and encompasses no more than 5 square miles. c. Links an outlying area of qualifying density, provided that the outlying area is: (1) Connected by road to, and is not more than 1 l/2 miles from, the main body of the urbanized area. (2) Separated from the main body of the urbanized area by water or other undevelopable area, is connected by road to the main body of the urbanized area, and is lAl1 references to population counts and densities relate to data from the 1980 census. 21n Hawaii, incorporated places do not exist in the sense of functioning local governmental units. Instead, census designated places are used in defining a central city and for applying urbanized area criteria. 3Tho rural portions of extended cities, as defined in the Census Bureau’s extended city criteria, are excluded from the urbanized area. In addition, for an urbanized area to be recognized, it must include a POpUlation of at least 25,000 that does not reside on a military base. IAny area of extensive nonresidential urban land use, such as railroad yards, airports! factories, parks, golf courses, and cemeteries, is excluded In computing the population density. 2 Page25 GAO/~~14SAUocationofFederal Fundsby Populrtion Appendix Vll CQmmenta From the Department ofCommerce Bureau of the Census, census designated places are recognized as central cities. New SMSA Standards New standards for designating and defining metropolitan statistical areas were published in the Federal Register on January 3, 1980. The SMSAs recognized for the 1980 census COmpriSe (1) all areas as defined on January 1, 1980, except for one area which was defined provisionally during the 1970's on the basis of population estimates but whose qualification was not confirmed by 1980 census counts: and (2) a group of 36 new areas defined on the basis of 1980 census counts and the new standards that were published on January 3, 1980. The new standards will not be applied to the areas existing on January 1, 1980, until after data on commuting flows become available from 1980 census tabulations. At that time, the boundaries, definitions, and titles for all SMSAs Will be reviewed. To aid users who want to become familiar with the SMSA standards and how they are applied, documents are available from the Office of Management and Budget, Washington, D.C. 20503. Relationshin Between yrbanized Areas and Metrooolitan Areas Although the urbanized area and the metropolitan area are closely related in concept, there are important differences. The urbanized area has a more limited territorial extent. The urbanized area consists of the physically continuously built-up territory around each larger city and thus corresponds generally to the core of high and medium population density at the heart of the metropolitan area. In concept, a metropolitan area is always larger than its core urbanized area, even if the metropolitan area is defined in terms of small building blocks, because it includes discontinuous urban and suburban development beyond the periphery of the continuously built-up area. The metropolitan area may also include some rural territory whose residents commute to work in the city or its immediate environs, while the urbanized area does not include such territory. In practice, because the SMSA definitions use counties as building blocks, considerable amounts of rural territory with few commuters are often included. However, even in New England, where cities and towns are used as building blocks, SMSAs are generally much larger in extent than their core urbanized areas. It sometimes occurs, because of boundary anomalies, that a portion of the urbanized area extends across the SMSA boundary into a 4 page27 GAO/HRB9&146 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population Appendix VIII Major Contributors to This Report Carl R. Fenstermaker, Assistant Director, (202) 276-6169 Human Resources John M. Kamensky, Assistant Director, Division, Robert F. Derkits, Evaluator-in-Charge Washington, D.C. William A. Brown, Staff Evaluator Mark S. Vinkenes, Social Science Analyst Robert G. Crystal, Assistant General Counsel Office of General Jane R. Sajewski, Attorney Advisor Counsel, Washington, D.C. (L18844) Page 29 GAO/HBDIIo145 Allocation of Federal Funde by Population Ordering Information The first five copies of each GAO report are free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accom- panled by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. U.S. General Accounting Office P.O. Box 6015 Gaithersburg, MD 20877 Orders may also be placed by calling (202) 275-6241. AppendixW CommentaFromthe Department ofCommerce nonsetropolitan county or another SMSA. However, such portions are usually quite small in area and population. The new standards provide that each SMSA be associated with an urbanized area. However, the reverse is not true--there are some urbanized areas that are not in any SMSA. This situation occurs when an urbanized area does not quality as an SMSA of at least 100,000 population (75,000 in new England), and the urbanized area has no city with at least 50,000 population. In addition, some SMSAs contain more than one urbanized area. This occurs when-- 1. Two or more urban concentrations not far apart and of generally similar size have separate urbanized areas but qualify as a single SMSA (for example, Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina). Often the SMSA title includes the name of the largest city of each of the component urbanized areas. 2. A very large SMSA includes one or more smaller separate urbanized areas within its boundaries. Examples are the separate urbanized areas around Joliet, Aurora, and Elgin within the Chicago SMSA. 5 Page28 GAO/MUTSO-14SAUoeationofFederalFundsby Population AppendixM Comments From the Department ofcemmerce not more than 5 miles from the main body of the urbanized area. 4. Large concentrations of nonresidential urban area (such as industrial parks, office areas, and major airports), which have at least one-quarter of their boundary contiguous to an urbanized area. Standard Metrooolitan Statistical Areas Definition The general concept of a metropolitan area is one of a large population nucleus, together with adjacent communities which have a high degree of economic and social integration with that nucleus. The standard metropolitan statistical area (SMSA) classification is a statistical standard, developed for use by Federal agencies in the production, analysis, and publication of data on metropolitan areas. The SMSAs are designated and defined by the Office of Management and Budget, following a set of official published standards developed by the interagency Federal Committee on Stand- ard Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Each SMSA has one or more central counties containing the area's main population concentration: an urbanized area with at least 50,000 inhabitants. An SMSA may also include outlying counties which have close economic and social relationships with the central counties. The outlying counties must have a specified level of commuting to the central counties and must also meet certain standards regarding metropolitan character, such as population density, urban population! and population growth. In New England, SMSAs are composed of cities and towns rather than whole counties. The population living m SMSAs may also be referred to as the metropolitan population. The population is subdivided into "inside central city (or cities)" and "outside central city (or cities)". The population living outside SMSAs constitutes the nonmetropolitan population. SMSA Titles Most SMSAs have at least one central city. The titles of SMSAs include up to three city names, as well as the name of each state into which the SMSA extends. For the 1980 census, central cities of SMSAs are those named in the titles of the SMSAs, with the exception of Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y., which has no central city, and Northeast Pennsylvania, the central cities of which are Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and Hazleton. Data on central Cities of SMSAs include the entire population within the legal city boundaries. In Hawaii, where there are ho incorporated places recognized by the 3 Page26 GAO/HRDSO-14SAUoeationofFederalFunds byPopulation AppendixW GmunentaFromtheDepartment ofcemmerce 1980 Census of Population, PCBO-l-lA, Number of Inhabitants, U. S. Summary (excerpts) Incornorated Places Incorporated places recognized in the reports of the census are those which are incorporated under the laws of their respective states as cities, boroughs, towns, and villages, with the following exceptions: boroughs in Alaska and New York and towns in the six New England states, New York, and Wisconsin. The towns in the New England states, New York, and Wisconsin, and the boroughs in New York are recognized as minor civil divisions for census purposes; the boroughs in Alaska are county equivalents. Some incorporated places include narrow strips of land (frequently only the rights-of-way of streets) which typically have no population or housing units. These areas, termed "corporate corridors," are generally not shown on the maps or in the tables of 1980 census reports. In Connecticut, a unique situation exists in which one incorporated place (Woodmont borough) is subordinate to another (Milford city). The city of Milford is coextensive with the town of Milford. In the tables for the Connecticut report in this series and other series of 1980 census reports, data shown for Milford city exclude those for Woodmont borough, and the user must therefore refer to data for Milford town (which include those for the borough) for data for Milford city. Yrban and Rural Residence As defined for the 1980 census, the urban population comprises all persons living in urbanized areas and in places of 2,500 or sore inhabitants outside urbanized areas. More specifically, the urban population consists of all persons living in (1) places of 2,500 or more inhabitants incorporated as cities, villages, boroughs (except in Alaska and New York) and towns (except in the New England states, New York, and Wisconsin) but excluding those persons living in the rural portions of ixtended cities: (2) census designated places of 2,500 or more inhabitants; and (3) other territory, incorporated or unincorporated, included in urbanized areas. The population not classified as urban constitutes the rural population. Urbanized Areas The major objective of the Census Bureau in delineating urbanized areas is to provide a better separation of urban and rural population in the vicinity of large cities. An urbanized area consists of a central city or cities, and surrounding closely settled territory ("urban fringe"). 1 Page24 Appendix VU Comments From the Department of chllmercc 1 fg%? UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE .-F!J a . “.T., o- *.* I . Bummu of the Cf!nsus wssllmgton. 0 c 20233 OFFICEOF THE DIRECTOR August 2, 1990 Ms. Linda G. Morra Director, Intergovernmental and Management Issues General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Dear Ms. Morra: Thank you for your letter to Secretary Mosbacher requesting the Department's conunents on the draft General Accounting Office report entitled Federal Formula Proorams-Outdated Pooulation Data Used to Allocate Most Funds. This is an interesting and useful report, and we concur in its description of the availability of postcensal population estimates. We expect to prepare postcensal population estimates annually for states, counties, and metropolitan statistical areas and biennially for large incorporated places, but we will not be able to prepare postcensal estimates of the "urban" population. AlSO, we can examine the possibility of preparing postcensal estimates of the low-income population for the 1990s but will require additional resources to do so. We stand ready to discuss the possibility of producing estimates of the low-income population with Congressional staff. To clarify responsibilities, we suggest a minor rewording of the Now on p. 5. first part of paragraph 1 on page 10 to read: "In its deliberations on how best to distribute Federal funds to the states, Congress may wish to consider directing (1) affected program agencies to study the effects of using incorporated or metropolitan area data rather than urban data to allocate formula funds, and (2) the Census Bureau to study the feasibility of estimating the low-income population for states on a more current basis." To show the differences between population in the metropolitan or incorporated areas and urban population, we suggest you include as an appendix to your report, a copy of the definitions past?22 GAO/HRD-9O-146.4llocation ofFederal Funds by Population Appendix, Programs Required to Use Decennial CensusData Dollars rn mllllons Fundina. CFDA no. Program Statutory citation FY 19l% Department of Agriculture ~- 10 203 Payments to Agrrcultural Experiment Statrons Under Hatch 7 US C. 361~ Art.-. $155.5 10 205 Payments to 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Tuskegee 7 u.s c 3222 Unrversrty 24 3 10500 Cooperatrve Extension Servrce 7 u.s c 343 276.8 Department of Health and Human Services 13 183 Federal Assrstance for Rural Hosprtals to Improve Health P.L. 100607, Sec. 638,704.5 as Care amended by P L. 100-690, Sec. 2603-4 14 Department of the Interior 156118 Wtldltfe RestoratIon-Hunter Safety and Educatron 16 U S C. 669c(b) 20.6 Department of Transportation 20 106B Arrport Improvement Program State Apportronments 49 U.S.C. App 2206(e) 155.1 20 205C Hrghway Planning and Construction: Prrmary System 23 U.S C. 104(b)(l) 2,313 2 20 205D Htghway Plannrng and Construction. Rural Secondary 23 US C 104(b)(2) 584.7 20 205E Hrghway Plannrng and Constructron, Urban System 23 U SC. 104(b)(2) $730.4 20 205F Hrghway Planning and Constructron. Urban Transportabon 23 U.S.C 104(f)(2) Planntng 47.4 20 205H HIghway Plannrng and Constructron Hrghway Safety 23 U S C 402(c) Programs 9.9 20 2051 HrohwavPt~~andConstruction~ Hazard Elrmrnatton 23 U.S.C. 152(e), 402(c) 1666 20 205J Hrghway Plannrng and Constructron: Rarl-Highway Crossrng 23 U.S C 130: 1’04(b);2). 104(b)(6) 157.6 20 507A Urban Mass Transportatron Caprtal and Operatrng 49 U S C. App 1604(a)(2) (A)(I) Assrstance Grants-Large Urban 1,448.O 20 5078 Urban Mass Transportation Capital and Operating 49 U S C App 1604(a)(2) (A)(k) Assrstance Grants-Small Urban 147.6 20 509 Publrc Transportation for Nonurbanrzed Areas 49 U SC. App 1614(a) 66 4 20 600 State and Communrty Hrghway Safety 23 U S C. 402(c) 81 1 Department of Energy 81 050 Enerav Extension Servrce 42 USC. 7010(c)(2) 4.0 Total $6390.6 Page 20 GAO/HRIHM46 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population Appendix IV Pro@uns for Which Decennial Census Data Were the Latest Available Funding, CFDA no. Program Population base FY 1989 20 205E Highway Planning and Constructron~ Urban System Urban 730.4 20 205F Hrghway Planning and Construction: Urban Transportation Urban Planntnq 47 4 20.205J Highway Plannrng and Construction- Rail-Hrghway Crossing Rural, Urban 157.6 20 505 Urban Mass Transportatton Techntcal Studtes Grants Urban 40 5 20 507A Urban Mass Transportatton Capital and Ooerattno Large urban Asststance Formul’a Grants-Lbrge Urban - 1,446.O 20 5078 Urban Mass Transportatton Capttal and Operating Small urban Asststance Formula Grants-Small Urban 147 6 20.509 Publtc Transportatton for Nonurbantzed Areas Nonurbanized 664 Department of Education 84.002 Adult Educatton State-Admtntstered B&c Grant Program Adults wtth no graduation certtftcate and not requtred to be in school 115.4 84.010 Educattonally Deprived Chtldren Local EducatIonal Chtldren aged 5~17 tn famtlies below and Agenctes above poverty level 3,987.g 84 196 State Achvtties Educatton of Homeless Chtldren and Youth Chtldren aged 5-17 rn famtltes below and above poverty level 4.6 84 223 State-Admtntstered Englrsh Ltteracy Number -.. of rndrvtduals wtth limited tngllsn-speaking abtltty 4.4 Total $16,723.7 Page 18 GAO/HRLMM-146 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population Appendix III Federal Agencies and BasesUsed to Allocate Progrm Funds (F-Y 1989) Dollars in mllllons Allocations based on Decennial Current Total Department/agency census estimates allocations Agnculture $2,994 4 $0 $2,994.4 Commerce 0 46 2 46.2 Health and Human Serwces 1,426 4 3,157 8 4,584.2 Housing and Urban Dcwloylment 101 0 3,081______ 3.162.5 Interior 37 3 0 37.3 JustIce 0 208 1 208.1 Labor 2,558 6 141 6 2,700.2 Transportation 5,995 2 0 5,995.2 Arts and HumaWes 0 49 5 49.5 Enwronmental Protectit II Aoenci ,. 101 5 ii?--- 213.7 Energy 38 4 9.5 47.9 Federal Emergency Ma;qc men’ Agency 0 57 0 57.0 Education 4.1126 3.266 0 7.378.6 Totals W7J65.4 $10,129.3 $27,494.; Page 16 Appendix II Programs Using Census Bureau Population Data to Allocate Funds (E-Y 1989) Funding, CFDA no. Program FY 1969 20.205H Htghway Planntng and Constructron, Htghway Safety Programs 9.9 20 2051 Htghway _ -___.-- Planning and Constructton, Hazard Eltmrnatton 166.6 20.205J .___- Htghway Planntng and ____-~ Construction Ratl-Htghway Crosstng 157.6 20 218 Motor Carrier Safety Asststance Program 46.7 20 505 Urban Mass Transportatton Techntcal Studtes Grants 40 5 20 507A Urban Mass Transportatron Capttal and OpemGe Formula Grants-Large Urban ~ ~-__ 1,448.O 20 5078 -. Urban Mass Transportatron Capital and Operahng Asststance Formula Grants-Small Urban 147 6 20.509 Publrc Transportation for Nonurbanized Areas~~ ._ _____-____. 664 20- ___.__~ State and Gmmuntty Highway Safety 81 1 Total $6,995.2 National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities _-___.. 45.007 Promohon of the Arts, State Programs ______ $24.5 45 129 Promotton of the Humanities State Programs 25.0 Total 649.5 Environmental Protection Agency 66.001 ..________-___ Air Polluhon _. Control Program Support $101 5 66.432 State Publtc Water System Supervtsion 32.1 66 433 State Underaround Water Source Protectron 9.5 66 700 PestZZforcement ProgramGrants 3.8 66.801 Hazardous Waste Management State Program Support 66.7 Total $213.6 Department of Energy ___- 81 ___-041 ______ State Energy Conservatton $9.5 81.050 Energy Extensron Service 4.0 81.052 Energy Conservahon for lnstttuttonal BulldIngs __-___ 34 4 Total $47.9 Federal Emergency Management Agency _.~~~ 63.503 - CIVII Defense. State and Local Emergency Management Asststance ____-- $57.0 Total $57.0 - Department of Education ~~___ 84.002 _-___ Adult Educahon State-Administered Baste Grant Program $115.4 -____~-~ -___ 84.010 Educattonally Deprived Chtldren, Local Educattonal Agenctes 3,987.9 a4 034 Library Servtces, Tttle I 79 4 .-_-___ 84 035 InterlIbrary Cooperation -__._____and Resource Sharing ~~~ ~~ 187 84.048 VocatIonal Educatton. Baste Grants to States __.- 815.3 (continued) Page 14 GAO/HRD9&146 AUocation of Federal Funds by Population Appendix II Programs Using CensusBureau Population Data to Allocate F’unds(FY 1989) Dollars in millions Funding, CFDA no. Program FY 1999 Department of Agriculture 10 203 Payments to Agrrcultural Experiment Statrons Under Hatch Act $155.5 10 205 Payments to 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Tuskegee Unrversrty 24.3 10418 Water and Waste Drsposal Systems for Rural Communrtres 97.5 10 420 Rural Self-Help Housrng Techntcal Assrstance 85 IO 427 Rural Rental Assrstance Payments 275 3 10 433 Rural Housing Preservatron Grants 19 1 10 500 Cooperatrve Extensron Servrce 276 8 IO 557A Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants. and Chrldren (WIC) 1,927 4 10568 Temporary Emergency Food Assrstance (Admrnrstratrve Costs) 50.0 10.569 Temporary Emergency Food Assrstance (Food Commodrtres) 1200 10 571 Food Commodrtres for Soup Krtchens 40 0 Total $2,994.4 Department of Commerce i 1 3078 Specral Economrc Development and Adjustment Assrstance Program-Long-Term Economrc Deterroratron $12.3 11419 Coastal Zone Management Program Admrnrstratron Grants 33.9 Total $46.2 Department of Health and Human Services 13 138 Protectron and Advocacy - for Mentally III lndrwduals $126 13 183 Federal Assrstance for Rural Hosortals I- ~~ to lmnrove Health Care_ r- I z-z: $1.4 13 600 Admrnrstratron for Chrldren. Youth and Famrlres-Head Start 5194 13.614 Chrld Development Associate Scholarshrps 15 13.623 Admrnistratron for Chrldren. Youth and Famrlres-Runaway and Homeless Youth 24 2 13.630A AdministratIon on Developmental Drsabrlrtres-Basic Support Grants 59 8 13.6308 Admrnrstratron on Developmental Drsabrlltres-Protectron and Advocacy GranTs-~ -~~ 19.8 13 6338 Specral Programs for the Agrng-Title Ill Part B-Grants for Supportrve Serwces and Sensor Centers 13 635A Specral Programs for the Agrng-Trtle Ill Part Cl-Congregate Nutrrtron Servtces 27 5 136358 -- Special Programs for the Agrng-Trtle Ill Part C2-Home Delrvered Nutrrtron Servrces 61 13641 Special Programs for the Agrng-Title ill Part D-InHome Serwces for Frarl Older lndrvrduals n7 13 643 Children’s Justice Grants to States 36 13645 Child Welfare Servrces State Grants 246 7 13 667 Socral Servrces Block Grant 2,700 0 13 669 Admrnrstratron for Chrldren, Youth and Famrlres-Chrld Abuse and Neglect State Grants 11.6 (contmued) Page 17. GAO/HRLHJO-146 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population Bureau of the CensusPopulation Data The Bureau of the Census collects and publishes various statistics about the people of the IJnited States in two basic ways: (1) the decennial census that counts the population and (2) surveys and other periodic programs that provide current population data estimated between the censuses. The Bureau also conducts special censuses on a cost- reimbursable basis. The censuses and surveys furnish information about the number and characteristics of the population, including social and economic charac- teristics such as household composition, ethnicity, and income, and pro- vide the basis for population estimates, projections, and special studies. Data are used, among other things, to allocate billions of dollars of fed- eral financial assistance. A census of the population has been taken every 10 years since 1790, Decennial Census and a census of housing has been taken as part of the decennial census since 1940. The 1980 Census of Population and Housing, the 20th decen- nial census, was conducted April 1, 1980. Certain questions are asked of all persons (100 percent or complete- count) to provide precise data needed for congressional apportionment, legislative redistricting, and other purposes where units of analysis may be as small as a city block. Other questions are asked of a fraction of the households (a sample) with the resulting data reported as estimates rather than actual counts for larger geographic areas, such as census tracts, which average about 4,000 people. The same is true regarding questions about housing. From the decennial census, the Census Bureau prepares three major groups of reports: 1. Population census reports, which display results from population questions concerning age, sex, race, commuting methods, prior years’ income and poverty status, employment, and other topics; 2. Housing census reports, which focus on housing subjects such as rent, value, fuels, facilities, number of rooms, and others; and 3. Population and housing reports, which combine the results of the pop- ulation and housing censuses. Page 10 GAO/HRD9@-146 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population Contents Letter 1 Appendix I 10 Bureau of the Census Decennial Census 10 Current Population Data 11 Population Data Appendix II Programs Using Census Bureau Population Data to Allocate Funds (FY 1989) Appendix III 16 Federal Agencies and Bases Used to Allocate Program Funds (FY 1989) Appendix IV 17 Programs for Which Decennial Census Data Were the Latest Available Appendix V 19 Programs Using Decennial Census When Later Data Were Available (FY 1989) Page 8 GAO/HltD~l48 Allocathm of Federal Funda by Population -- B-237186 census to allocate funds and instead require that the funds be distrib- uted using some other basis and data. A draft of this report was provided to the Department of Commerce, Agency Comments which commented on it (see app. VII). Commerce found the report inter- esting and useful and concurred in its description of the availability of population estimates. Commerce stated that the Census Bureau will be preparing population estimates annually for states, counties, and metro- politan areas and biennially for large incorporated places. It also said the Census Bureau could examine the possibility of preparing estimates of the low-income population, but would require additional resources to do so. Commerce suggested that we slightly reword our matters for Congres- sional consideration in order to clarify responsibilities, and we have done this. Commerce also thought it useful to provide population defini- tions for urban areas, metropolitan areas, and incorporated places, and attached these to its comments. Copies of this report are being sent to the Bureau of the Census, the Department of Commerce, the heads of the departments and agencies whose programs were studied, and other appropriate congressional com- mittees Copies also will be made available to interested parties upon request. Please call me on (202) 275-1655 if you or your staff have any questions about this report. Other major contributors to it are listed in appendix VIII. Sincerely yours, Linda G. Morra Director, Intergovernmental and Management Issues Page 6 GAO/HRBS@146 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population B2.37186 living below the poverty level, that are available only from the decen- nial census (see app. IV). The Census Bureau develops these data every 10 years and does not prepare more current estimates on a state-by- state basis. At our request, the Census Bureau explored the possibility of providing current data on the number of inhabitants living below the poverty level and the number living in urban and rural areas. For persons below the poverty level, Census officials believe that “modeled” estimates could be obtained by using data from the most recent census and other sources. These data would be more current than those in the decennial census. Census officials who have carried out some preliminary feasibility studies using the modeling procedures say the study results appear promising. Census does not estimate the urban population between censuses. It does, however, estimate population inside incorporated areas and popu- lation in metropolitan areas. Incorporated areas are more restrictive or smaller than urban areas, while metropolitan areas are more inclusive or larger than urban areas. Each of the three population areas-urban, incorporated, and metropolitan-would result in different fund distri- butions among the states. Whether incorporated or metropolitan popula- tion data should be substituted for urban population data in federal formulas so that later data can be used to allocate funds is a matter that will require further analysis. Twelve of the 45 programs did not use the most current population data Latest Data Not Used to distribute $641 million (see app. V). State population from the decen- in Some Programs nial census was used rather than available annual estimates. For 6 of the 12 programs, authorizing statutes required the use of the decennial census. Although six programs’ st,atutes do not specify the data source required, these programs (distributing $204 million) used the decennial census. When we discussed the reasons for this with program officials, one pro- gram manager said hc was unaware that more recent data were avail- able. A senior public hea1t.h advisor for another program told us that the agency wanted to use current estimates in 1989 but said it was too late in publishing the change in the Federal Register. He added that the agency published its intent to use current estimates to distribute 1990 funds. Two other ljrogram managers wanted to maintain “level” funding Page 4 GAO/HRD-9O146 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population 8237136 methods such as set-asides and hold-harmless provisions.2 Also, we interviewed Census officials to determine whether they had data more current than the decennial census data used by many program man- agers. Finally, we analyzed program laws and regulations to identify the population data and sources required to be used. We conducted our review from September 1989 to March 1990 in accor- dance with generally accepted government auditing standards. In fiscal year 1989, 93 federal formula programs involving funds Results in Brief totaling $27.5 billion used Census Bureau population data, in whole or in part, to determine program eligibility or distribute funds to state and local governments. Of these 93 programs, l 48 used current population estimates to distribute $10.1 billion, and l 45 used 1980 decennial census population data to distribute $17.4 bil- lion. Statutes for 18 programs (distributing $6.4 billion) specify using the decennial census as the source of population data for distributing funds. For 33 of the 45 programs, the decennial population data used to dis- tribute $16.7 billion were the most current available. These consisted primarily of data on the populations living in urban and rural areas and below the poverty level. These data are not estimated between decennial censuses. Additionally, 12 of the 33 programs are required by law to use the decennial data. Twelve of the 45 programs used state population data from the decen- nial census to distribute $641.6 million, even though more current state population data are available annually from the Census Bureau. Six pro- grams are required by law to use decennial census data and six pro- grams had various reasons for not using current estimates. The Census Bureau believes that it could develop and provide intercensal data (data between censuses) on poverty by using statistical ‘A set-aside is a prescribed percentage or dollar amount of grant funds that is earmarked for a spe cific purpose at the national or at the state level and may not be used for other purposes. For example, in a program that alknvs a department secretary to use 16 percent of program funds for discretionary purposes, the 16 percent would be a set-aside. A hold-hamless provision guarantees that a grant recipient will not receive less funding than it did under a previous program or under a preceding formula. For example, in a program that guarantees that states will receive no less than the dollar amount they received in a prior year, the guarantee would be a hold-harmless provision. In either case, the set-aside or hold-harmless amounts would not be distributed by formula. Page 2 GAO/HRDSO-146 Allocation of Federal Funds by Population
Federal Formula Programs: Outdated Population Data Used to Allocate Most Funds
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-09-27.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)