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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Business research bureau’s population estimate was spot on

An estimate of Florida’s population conducted by a UF research center was accurate within two tenths of a percent in comparison with the actual U.S. Census Bureau’s counts released for 2010.

The Bureau of Economic and Business Research, part of UF’s Warrington College of Business Administration, found Florida’s population to be 18,772,352, only a slight difference to the census’s count of 18,801,310 people.

According to Stanley Smith, the bureau’s program director and UF economics professor, estimates in years past fell around percentage errors of 1.6 to 1.8 percent. This year’s difference is the lowest the bureau has ever reached.

“It validates our methodology,” Smith said. “It shows that what we’ve been doing has been very accurate, probably about as accurate as you can get.”

According to Smith, the bureau has a contract with the Florida Legislature to produce population estimates throughout the state for distribution of state revenue sharing dollars and budgeting purposes.

Collecting the data is a yearlong process that the bureau has been doing for more than 40 years to produce annual figures.

“It takes a lot of effort,” Smith said. “We have one person that works basically year-round on collecting data and corresponding with local areas. Then, I spend quite a bit of time as well on producing the estimates in certain times of the year. It takes a great deal of effort to come up with that.”

The bureau also produces population counts for cities and counties throughout the state, but those figures from the U.S. Census will not be released until February. Thus, the bureau’s accuracy in that area has not yet been calculated.

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