How Many People in Maine are 25 to 34?


Last week, I became aware of a new report touting Census data claiming that between 2004 and 2006 Maine had gained nearly 6,000 people between the ages of 25 to 34 after falling by nearly 12,000 between 2000 and 2004. This sounded like good news, perhaps the flight of Maine’s youth had reversed itself.
However, because of my own experience with Census data, I doubted that this was true. Census rarely has such dramatic swings in their population data between the decennial census simply because they are mostly estimates and projections. After some searching on their website, I found this spreadsheet.
This data presents a very different picture. Rather than gaining 6,000 people, Maine actually lost another 1,000 people between the ages of 25 to 34. The only good news is that the loss seems to have stopped between 2005 and 2006–although this data is still subject to revision. (click “continue reading” below to see the data in graphical form).
Apparently, the problem occurred when someone updated their table for the new 2006 Census data but failed to update the previous year’s data which had been revised by the Census Bureau. As a result, the data was an apples-to-oranges comparison. This is an important lesson, especially for the media, to double-check facts before jumping to conclusions.