Estimating the Population of Military Counties in the United States, 2000-2020
Alexa Jones-Puthoff, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Irene Dokko, U.S. Census Bureau
Estimation of populations with irregular migratory patterns has always posed a challenge for the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program. One such population is the Armed Forces population. Several aspects of the 2000-2010 time period complicated efforts to accurately estimate the size and characteristics of counties with substantial military populations, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and implementation of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission’s recommendations. This paper evaluates the Census Bureau’s 2010 population estimates for “military” and “non-military” counties, and considers the estimates’ accuracy relative to Census 2010 counts for these two groups of counties. We find lower accuracy for military counties compared to non-military counties. We then discuss potential methodological improvements in the estimation of stateside military populations and the movement of the Armed Forces between the United States and overseas, with the goal of more accurately estimating military counties in the 2010-2020 time period.