State Populations

1. a) In this assignment we will study the change in population in the states from 1990 to 2000. Before proceeding, think about which states experienced the greatest growth from 1990 to 2000 and which states experienced the least growth.  In your Word document, write a short paragraph listing the two states your group thinks grew the most and which two states your group thinks grew the least or declined the most. In your paragraph briefly indicate the factors you believe are driving the growth or decline.

b) Open the file StatePopulation2000.xls, which contains official decennial census population figures for all states from 1970 to 2000, by either clicking on the file link or by finding it in the Excel Files collection of files on the left. Fill column F with the difference between the 2000 and 1990 populations for each state.  This quantity is called the absolute change. Frequently, we call this simply the change in population.  (Hints. In F6 type a label "Absolute Change".  Then in cell F8 type =E8-D8.  Then fill the rest of the column. To fill, you can double click on the small box in the bottom right hand corner of cell F8; alternately, you can left click on this small box, then holding the mouse button down, move the mouse down to the end of the column.)

c) Using Excel's column sorting tools, determine the three states that had the largest increase (positive change) in population from 1990 to 2000.  (FYI - the population figures in the table are in thousands.)

d) Fill column G with the percentage change in population from 1990 to 2000 for each state.  Remember to label your column, and recall that the percentage change in a quantity is defined to be the absolute change divided by the value at the start:

 PercentageChange.gif (2172 bytes)

Percentage change is always expressed as a percentage; for example 0.342 is expressed as 34.2%.  To express your values in percent click on the percentage button wpe6D.jpg (736 bytes) in the toolbars near the top of screen. You may express more decimals in your values by clicking a number of times on the "Increase Decimal" button wpe6A.jpg (746 bytes); to express fewer decimals click on the "Decrease Decimal" button wpe6B.jpg (749 bytes).

e) Using Excel's sorting tools, determine the three states that had the largest percentage increase in population from 1990 to 2000.

f) Why does the first list, created by sorting by absolute increase, differ so much from the second, sorted by percentage increase.