This question may sound dumb. My boss wants to know if the 2020 Census redistricting population is the official final population for the state and counties. I believe it is, but I want to confirm with you all. Will there be any difference between the redistricting population and the final release? What will the difference be if there is any? When will the final official release be if this is not the final release? Any insight will be greatly appreciated.
That's a wonderfully layered bureaucratic question.
The Redistricting Data file provides the official decennial census population for states and counties, as far as the federal government is concerned.
Some states may have state laws re: what they consider to be "official", as far as state programs are concerned.
There is no such thing as a "final" file: There is the Redistricting Data file. And there could be errata corrections (end of 2023) out of the Count Question Resolution process -- but that requires a state/local/tribal government to appeal, and find the substantiation, and overcome Census's resistance to changes. (The hurdles for that CQR process are high, and corrections affecting a county total or state total will be exceedingly rare, or none.)
There will be subsequent 2020 Census data products, but not until the end of 2022. Census Bureau is saying those products should have the same state population totals as Redistricting Data file. But there could be miniscule differences in county population totals -- thanks to the new Disclosure Avoidance System -- which is a long story. If the county-level populations looks slightly different between Redistricting Data file and later 2020 Census products, my advice is: give preference to the Redistricting Data file -- or to whatever number is certified by state law where you are.
Thank you so much! This is educational and enlightening.