A federal judge, in an unprecedented decision, has upheld Detroit's claim that the US Census Bureau undercounted its residents and ordered federal officials to adjust population figures across the nation.
US District Judge Horace W. Gilmore also issued an injunction barring the Census Bureau from delivering any population count to the President or the variouys states until the adjustment is made.
In his ruling the judge said blacks and Hispanics are four times as likely as whites to be undercounted -- a factor that is likely to produce a significant undercount in cities with large nonwhile populations.
The decision was a victory for Mayor Coleman A. Young, who had sued the bureau, charging that Detroit and other cities were losing congressional representation and government financial aid because of under counts.
Census Bureau Director Vincent P. Barabba, taking the stand to defend his agency, conceded there has been an undercount in every census since the first one nearly 20 years ago. But he said this year's $1 billion census made every effort to count as many people as possbile. He also said juggling thf figures would be a difficult -- it not impossible -- exercise in statistics.
Justice Department officials, who defended the government in the case, could not immediately be reached for comment as to whether an appeal is planned.