WASHINGTON -- Commerce Secretary Robert A. Mosbacher yesterday announced that he would not order a statistical adjustment to the 1990 census count, even though the Census Bureau had failed to count between 3 million and 5 million people.

Mr. Mosbacher said there had been an undercount, but that any method for adjusting the statistics could produce new inaccuracies. He said he was not willing to take that chance when counting the population is the basis for electoral representation.

A statistical adjustment would have boosted the population counts in a number of states, allowing them to receive larger amounts of bond authority under the private-activity bond volume cap.

Under the volume cap law, states each year may allocate private-activity bond authority equal to the greater of $50 per capita or $150 million.

The 1990 census was the subject of controversy during much of last year. Several states and cities -- most notably New York City -- objected to some of the bureau's preliminary estimates, saying the counts for their areas were far too low, and they urged that the population levels should be adjusted.

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