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Veto of Bill Relating to the Census in South Parkersburg, West Virginia.

August 11, 1950

To the House of Representatives:

I return herewith, without my approval, H.J. Res. 461, "To provide that South Parkersburg, West Virginia, shall for the purposes of the seventeenth decennial census be treated as a part of Parkersburg, West Virginia".

This enrolled resolution provides that South Parkersburg, West Virginia, which was not officially annexed to the city of Parkersburg until July 28, 1950, shall for purposes of the seventeenth decennial census be treated as part of Parkersburg, West Virginia.

The seventeenth decennial census was taken so as to reflect population, dwelling, and agricultural information as of April 1, 1950. The enactment of this resolution into law would single out the city of Parkersburg, West Virginia, for treatment different from that accorded approximately 18,000 other municipalities throughout the United States. Such special treatment is obviously contradictory to the spirit and intent of the constitutional and legislative requirements which provide for the seventeenth decennial census.

Under these circumstances, approval of this enactment would be an invitation to all other municipalities which have changed their city boundaries since April 1, 1950, to seek similar special legislative authority in order to apply current annexations retroactively to April 1, 1950, for population purposes. At least 100 other municipalities are known to have completed annexations subsequent to April 1, 1950.

Special treatment of this type for specific municipalities would not only be administratively unfair and unsound, but if applied generally to several cities would add significantly to the cost of the Census and materially delay its compilation. In many cases it would be necessary to recanvass all or portions of annexed areas in order to establish accurate figures respecting population totals and dwellings within newly established boundaries.

While I have felt obliged, for the foregoing considerations, to withhold my approval from this measure, I recognize that there will, perhaps, be many occasions when users of population data for cities would like a convenient source of information concerning areas for which official boundaries have been changed. I am therefore requesting the Secretary of Commerce to make available a listing of all municipal annexation cases which have become effective within one year following April 1, 1950, and which have been reported to the Bureau of the Census by the appropriate authorities.


Harry S Truman, Veto of Bill Relating to the Census in South Parkersburg, West Virginia. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230149

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