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Weldon Cooper’s work shows the changes may cause confusion and even skew data, according to Cai. Especially, she said, in Virginia’s smaller communities.

Much of the census data released last week paints portraits of certain communities that simply make no sense, according to analysts with the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

Overall, births in Northern Virginia dropped by 8 percent from 2014 to 2019, according to data from the Weldon Cooper Center. The region wasn’t alone — nearly every major metropolitan area in Virginia, with the exception of Lynchburg, recorded a drop over the same time period.

The Demographics Research Group of UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center analyzed the test data for Virginia and found significant inaccuracy at the census block level. 

“Our population is having fewer babies and seeing more deaths as our population is aging. Immigration was slower than in the decade prior,” Cai added.

Nationally, we projected the 2020 U.S. population to be 332,527,548, which is a bit more than the Census count of 331,449,281, representing a difference of 0.33%. 

Lombard says not only is the census changing how it asks about race and ethnicity, but how people actually respond to it is changing, too.

“At this moment, there have been about 240,000 COVID deaths,” Sen said Thursday, “but between now and tomorrow the death toll will have risen to perhaps 243,000 or higher...”

“Southern and western Virginia used to be all Democrats. Northern Virginia was entirely Republican. Now it’s the opposite,” said Hamilton Lomard, a demographer at UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center.

“The current way of defining and measuring majority and minority groups for the future population is likely to be considered outdated...,” Cai said