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Fact Check: Exactly 1,307,402 San Diego Residents?


Image: falseStatement: Exactly 1,307,402 people resided in San Diego on April 1, 2010, according to the official population totals released by the U.S. Census Bureau in March.

Determination: False

Analysis: The Census Bureau mistakenly counted nearly 6,000 military personnel as residents of San Diego instead of Coronado, the agency notified [1] local and state officials through letters sent last week.

While losing 6,000 residents is a drop in the bucket for San Diego, the nation’s eighth largest city, the mistake had greater implications for Coronado, a small peninsula community. Six-thousand residents is about one-quarter of Coronado’s new total: 24,697. It’s less than 1 percent of San Diego’s corrected total: 1,301,617.

The mistake occurred because of an error that assigned people on three aircraft carriers — the USS Nimitz, the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Ronald Reagan — to San Diego instead of Coronado, the ships’ official home port at the time of the count. After identifying the error in San Diego, the Census Bureau found similar problems in Virginia and the northeast.

The Census Bureau notified Coronado, San Diego and state redistricting officials of the correction last week. However, it doesn’t plan to update the cities’ official population totals online, said Jean Miller, a Census Bureau area manager in Los Angeles. Instead, the agency will add a disclaimer next to the incorrect numbers that explains the error and provides the accurate numbers.

Following the bureau’s lead, we’ve called San Diego’s original population total False because it incorrectly included military personnel who should have been counted as Coronado residents.

If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

What claim should we Fact Check next? Please contact Keegan Kyle directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org [2] or 619.550.5668 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/keegankyle [3].