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What a time to be doing the census.

Today’s intellectual exercise* was triggered by Keith noting that he’d completed our census and sent it in. To which I said** “Great. Complete the massive once-a-decade population count just before a massive die-off”.

So then we speculated a bit about the effect on the political landscape if the die-off was not random.
Which it won’t be – unfortunately, effects will be disproportionate among certain populations. Essential workers (healthcare, food industry, etc) are at more risk. Older people and sicker people. People who decide to defy the isolation recommendations for whatever reason. People who live in higher population density areas (maybe? Infection rate would be higher, but rural folks, when affected, may have less access to life-saving healthcare facilities?).

So you could have a census count, assign representation, then have a population die-off that leaves some geographic areas over-represented for the next decade, along with unknown shifts in the political landscape in those areas either because of non-selective population thinning, or because people change their political attitudes in response to the whole experience.

From a partisan point of view, this could go either way. Demographically, the Republican party is older, and the worst “deniers” appear to be right-wing. But, essential workers probably are disproportionately Democrat. And high-density populations (cities) tend to be more liberal than the surrounding countryside.

It’s another of those exercises that leave me shrugging and saying “I have no idea how this will roll out.”

*We both deal with uncertain situations by doing a lot of analytic speculation about hypothetical sets of conditions and assumptions. I’m sharing that with the larger population in case that’s of interest to anyone else…

** I was especially blunt because hadn’t had much coffee yet this morning.


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