My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Archive for December, 2009

Census road tour begins next week

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

The Census Bureau’s road tour to promote the 2010 Census will begin next week.

The road tour will kickoff on Jan. 4 in Times Square in New York City.

Thirteen tour vehicles will travel more than 150,000 miles across the country to educate people about the 2010 Census. The tour will stop at more than 800 events, including parades, festivals and the Super Bowl, according to the Census Bureau.

Census Bureau expects population to top 308 million

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

The Census Bureau estimates that the U.S. population on Jan. 1 will be 308,400,408, according to figures released this morning.

That total marks the Bureau’s prediction three months before data is due for the 2010 Census.

The Jan. 1, 2010, projection represents a 0.9-percent increase from New Year’s Day 2009, or an increase of 2,606,181 people.

Iranian Americans urged to specify ethnicity in Census

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

We’ve written about the extensive (but controversial) outreach to encourage Latinos to participate in the 2010 Census — and now, Iranian Americans are also the target of outreach efforts.

According to the Los Angeles Times, this year’s outreach campaign is the first time Iranian Americans have been encouraged to specifically identify themselves as Iranians on their Census forms.

The protests that followed the reelection of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  are expected to help. Since the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, the LAT reports, Iranian Americans have been reluctant to identify themselves. But that’s changed since this summer:

“It has created a sea change in the way Americans view Iranians,” said Reza Aslan, author of “How to Win a Cosmic War,” who moved to the U.S. from Iran in 1979. “No doubt about it, it’s now cool to be Iranian.”

Some hailed it as a sort of coming out for Iranian Americans. The hope is that the effects of that change will be seen in the census count next year.

“It was a sort of boost or a shot in the arm,” [Census Bureau partnership specialist Nadia] Babayi said, because people were encouraged to say that they were Iranian. They weren’t hiding anymore.”

After the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, many Iranian Americans and expatriates chose to keep a low profile in what some saw as a hostile environment. The 1991 film “Not Without My Daughter” was blamed for helping to cast a negative light on Iranian men. Starring Sally Field, it depicted an American woman and her daughter fleeing Iran and an abusive husband. And in 2002, then-President Bush declared Iran a member of the “Axis of Evil.”

About 300,000 Iranians were counted in the 2000 Census, a figure thought to be highly underreported. The U.S. government classifies Iranians as “white” and some didn’t know they could specify in the “other” category that they were Iranian.

Groves: Special Gulf Coast Count is ‘Fair Thing To Do’

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

After the large-scale displacement of Gulf Coast residents during the 2005 hurricanes, local governments and community groups are calling for a special count of the region — and Census Bureau director Robert Groves agrees, according to local paper the Shreveport Times.

“The fair thing to do for the country is to do another count of that area later on,” Groves said in an interview with the paper. “They’re rebuilding. They want more people there. People are coming back.”

A special count would make up for the fact that many of the region’s residents still will not have returned by the April 1, 2010 deadline.

The separate count — which would not take place until at least 2012 — is not uncommon. Groves told the Shreveport Times that the Census Bureau has conducted more than 300 special counts since the last Census in 2000, primarily for growing communities looking for more federal funding.

But the major obstacle still facing the region, the article explains, is how to pay for this count:

Groves said the governments could seek federal or private funding.

Marc Morial, chairman of the Census Bureau’s 2010 Census Advisory Committee and president of the National Urban League, said Congress could include the cost of the special census in the 2011 budget.

But congressional lawmakers, including Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., chairman of a subcommittee that oversees the Census Bureau, have raised concerns about the cost.

Despite the cost, Groves was optimistic that the region could find funding for a special count if there’s enough interest in the idea.

“I’m not saying it’s cheap, but somehow other areas have gotten the political will to assemble the money,” he told the Shreveport Times. “It is a matter of will.”

The Census Bureau already plans to take special measures in the region for 2010′s major count, such as going door-to-door to make sure residents receive their questionnaires.

Which states need to improve their Census response rates?

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Census forms won’t reach homes until March, but the Census Bureau is already publicizing a three-stage advertising campaign aimed, in part, at encouraging people to fill out their forms and cooperate with Census workers.

So, in which states should the Census Bureau concentrate its efforts?

A look at the response rates from the 2000 and 1990 censuses show that, in general, the same states had low numbers in both years.

Alaska had the lowest response rate in both 2000 (56 percent) and 1999 (52 percent). South Carolina had the next-worse response rate in both years, with 58 percent in 2000 and 56 percent in 1990. (Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, had a response rate of just 53-percent in 2000).

At the other end, Iowa had the best response rate in 2000 with 76 percent, followed by Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin at 75 percent. In 1990, Wisconsin topped the list with a 77-percent response rate. Iowa and Minnesota tied for second-best at 76 percent.

The national response rate was 67 percent in 2000 and 65 in 1990. The Census Bureau is predicting a drop in the response rate, to 64 percent, for the 2010 Census.

More areas with low response rates include Washington, D.C. (60 percent in 2000, 56 percent in 1990), Louisiana (60 percent in 2000, 58 percent in 1990), Hawaii (60 percent in 2000, 62 percent in 1990), Vermont (60 percent in 2000, 64 percent in 1990) and Maine (61 percent in 2000, 58 percent in 1990).

Other states with high response rates were South Dakota (74 percent in both years), Virginia (72 percent in 2000, 70 percent in 1990), North Dakota (72 percent both years) and Ohio (72 percent in 2000, 75 percent in 1990).

This county-by-county map shows a more detailed breakdown of response rates from the 2000 Census.

Some states are already striving to improve their performance from the last count. The Herald in Rock Hill, S.C., reported that the state will have heavier marketing and outreach efforts in the 10 or 12 counties that had the lowest response rates in 2000.

“Some people just don’t understand the importance of the census,” Michael Sponhour, spokesman for the State Budget and Control Board, told the paper.

New state population estimates preview 2010 Census

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

The Census Bureau released new state population estimates today, the last set of such data to be published before the 2010 Census.

The new estimates give a preview of which states might gain — or lose — U.S. House seats and funding as a result of next year’s count. The data is also the first population estimate that fully account for the economic recession.

The winners from this year’s estimates:

  • Texas: Texas gained more people than any other state (478,000) between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009, the period covered by the data set.
  • California: The nation’s most populous state with 37 million people, California was second to Texas in the number of people gained — 381,000.
  • Wyoming: Wyoming showed the largest population growth of any state, with a 2.12 percent rise in population in the one-year period.

And the losers:

  • Michigan, Maine and Rhode Island: These were the only three states to show a loss in population for the year. Michigan’s loss was -0.33 percent, Maine’s -0.11 percent and Rhode Island’s -0.03 percent.
  • Florida and Nevada: These states were hit especially hard by the recession. They saw big upticks in population during the early 2000s, but this year experienced a net outflow of residents, meaning more people left the state than moved to it. However, due to births, both states still had an overall population increase.

Overall, the estimates show that fewer people are moving (“domestic migration,” in Bureau speak) — especially to states in the south and west — likely as a result of the poor economy.

USA Today has a fascinating interactive map and chart that compare the new estimates to data from 2000, offering an early look at the changes in congressional representation next year’s Census could bring.

According to their data, states poised to gain House seats include Texas, Georgia, Nevada, Washington, Utah, Arizona, Florida and South Carolina. States likely to lose seats are Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Louisiana.

A round-up of coverage of the new estimates:

Census Bureau press release: Texas Gains the Most in Population
USA Today: Census reports slow growth in states
New York Times: Recession Cuts Migration to Sun Belt, New Figures Show
Bloomberg: Texas Gains Most People in 2008-09, U.S. Census Says
Washington Post: Census: Weak economy caused dramatic slowdown in magnet states

Texas Gains the Most in Population

Follow up: Transcript from Robert M. Groves conference call

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

There were some technical glitches during a media conference call last week with Census Bureau director Robert M. Groves about the status of the 2010 Census.

Stephen got dropped off the call, and we wrote an editorial criticizing the Bureau’s technical problems with the conference call and failure to make a transcript available.

This afternoon, Stacy Gimbel of the Census Bureau responded in the comments to the editorial with this link to the transcript of the briefing (as a pdf).

Some highlights from the end of the call:

  • In response to a question on the economy, Groves said the recession has led to a larger applicant pool for Census workers, but the vacancy rate (due to foreclosures) means forms will be sent to addresses where no one lives.
  • According to Groves, self-identification questions (such as about ethnicity) change on almost every Census form. The Bureau wants people to write-in how they identify themselves if none of the provided options apply.
  • And some upcoming key dates: Census road tour begins Jan. 4, media kickoff event in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 14, paid media ads start airing Jan. 18, Groves travels to Alaska for the first enumeration of a remote village on Jan. 25.

A closer look at Census push by Latino groups, evangelical churches

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

As Stephen wrote last week, Latino leaders are in a controversial collaboration with evangelical churches to encourage participation in the 2010 Census.

As part of that effort, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials is distributing Christmas posters to churches and clergy that depict Joseph and Mary on their way to Bethlehem, with a note that that Jesus was born when Joseph and Mary were traveling to participate in a census.

In the New York Times’ second article on the Census in the past week (the first was on the economy), the paper gives the Census push by Latino leaders — and their work with  clergy — a closer look.

The article reports Latino groups are worried about their members being under counted because illegal immigrants may be unlikely to fill out a government form. It also describes why the Census is a milestone of sorts for many Latino leaders:

Latino political leaders see full participation in the census as the culmination of heightened activism that began in the spring of 2006, when hundreds of thousands of Latinos marched in the streets to protest legislation then in Congress that would have toughened laws against illegal immigration. In 2007 they held a nationwide campaign to have Latino immigrants become United States citizens. That was followed last year with a huge voter registration drive.

“We want to tap into that same spirit,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, known as Naleo, a bipartisan group that is a main organizer of the census drive. “We have to go back to everybody and say, ‘Just as you marched, just as you naturalized, just as you voted, now you have to be counted.’ ”

One strategy is to encourage Latino immigrants to return the census forms by mail, rather than waiting for a census taker’s knock on the door, which could frighten illegal immigrants wary of immigration agents.

After the Senate blocked an attempt to include a citizenship question on the Census form last month, it became clear that states with significant Latino populations have a lot to gain by full (or as close to full as possible) participation. And that will translate to more funds and congressional representation for the people in those states.

However, some evangelical leaders are arguing against the campaign, objecting to the use of images of Jesus to promote the Census — and even against Latino participation in the Census at all:

But the Rev. Miguel Angel Rivera, a New Jersey pastor who heads a smaller coalition of evangelical clergy, has called for a boycott of the census.

“We need to empower the undocumented immigrants by asking them not to participate,” Mr. Rivera said, “as a way to protest the lack of commitment from this Congress to do what is right and moral, which is comprehensive immigration reform.”

He is touring the country with his boycott call, and he has gained the support of some community leaders, including Nativo López, a Mexican-American activist in Los Angeles.

Any promotional effort that mixes the government and religion is bound to get a little dicey. As the posters are displayed in evangelical churches this week, we’re interested to see what kind of reception they get — and, more importantly, whether they’ll translate into Latino Census participation.

Find local Census resources

Monday, December 21st, 2009

States and municipalities are launching web sites to provide information about and mobilize citizens to participate in the 2010 Census. The sites are run by local governments or state data centers and provide local jobs, contact info, volunteer opportunities and meeting times.

Many states have already launched sites, and other localities — from Maricopa County, Ariz., to Dallas to Mt. Pleasant, Mich. — also have 2010 Census web sites.

We’ve already written about why Census outreach is such a big deal to cities and states. Both the Census Bureau and local governments seem to be making an effort to develop online portals to educate people. Last month, OhMyGov critiqued the Census Bureau’s site, so now, we ask you, readers: What do you think of the web site your state or city has developed?

After the jump, check out a full list of the states we found with Census sites already set up. Leave any others you’ve found — states, counties or cities — in the comments.

(more…)

Census Bureau to buy Super Bowl ad

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Media Post is reporting that the Census Bureau will advertise during the Super Bowl in February.

The Bureau is expected to spend more than $300 million on marketing this year, with a significant portion of that devoted to paid advertising.

The article explains why the Super Bowl ad is important for the Census Bureau:

The Feb. 7 game on CBS comes soon after the Census kicks off a $300 million-plus outreach campaign. And importantly, just a few weeks before the Bureau begins disseminating its questionnaires.

The Super Bowl offers a chance to swiftly reach a massive amount of the U.S. audience. Last year, 151.6 million people — about half of the U.S. population — watched at least a portion of the game. On average, the game was seen in 48 million homes and viewed by 98.7 million people.

The Bureau also ran a spot in the 2000 Super Bowl.

New York Times Cover Story Has It Wrong…

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

The New York Times dropped the ball this time. As we have already learned, and the Times acknowledged, the average 2010 Census job lasts for six weeks, which doesn’t create any form of economic stability. Next time, try to find more than one mouthpiece from Moody’s to give a quote that justifies an unremarkable claim… Anyway, here’s the article:

By Michael Luo

Next year’s census will not only count people, it will also put money in millions of pockets and potentially create a well-timed economic spark.

Not in more than a half-century has the United States census been conducted amid such high rates of joblessness. The 1.2 million census-taking jobs may be temporary, but they pay well, and economists say they will provide a significant lift.

The jobs will amount to a $2.3 billion injection into the economy at a critical juncture, a bridge between the moment when many economists believe the private sector will finally stop shedding jobs and when it ultimately begins to add them.

“These are real jobs with good solid hourly pay,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com.

Mr. Zandi added: “It’s a form of stimulus. It’s like infrastructure spending, or W.P.A. in the Depression. It effectively does the same thing. It’s not on the same scale, but it is large enough, and it will make a difference.”

Recruiting is just beginning for the jobs. The Census Bureau began adding temporary offices across the country in the fall and has recently been holding open houses to encourage people to sign up for a half-hour test that is the first step to a job. It has also set up a Web site with information for job seekers. About 13,000 workers were hired this month.

The peak of the bureau’s hiring, however, will be in late April and early May when about 800,000 people are expected to be on its payroll, most of them as field workers, knocking on doors to follow up with households that did not return census forms mailed in March. The positions vary in length and pay, but the average job is 20 hours a week for six weeks, paying $10 to $25 an hour.

Rebecca Blank, the under secretary for economic affairs at the Department of Commerce, whose responsibilities include the Census Bureau, was cautious about the ultimate impact on the monthly unemployment rate, because of a variety of complicating factors in how it is calculated.

“My guess is it’s going to be less than one-half of 1 percent,” Ms. Blank said.

Nevertheless, the boost to total employment nationwide, she said, will be significant. And the timing, in some ways, could not be better.

Mr. Zandi, along with many other economists, believes the nation will stop shedding jobs in the spring, and by the time these census jobs wind down over the summer, the private sector will be poised to begin adding jobs again.

“When we look back historically, the census will mark the end of the downdraft of employment,” he said.

Census officials across the country, however, sounded a note of caution for those desperate for the temporary jobs. Many may wind up being turned away. In part, that is because of the extraordinary demand during a smaller spate of earlier census hiring.

The bureau hired about 140,000 people this year for its address canvassing campaign, in which workers walked block by block to make sure the government’s address lists and maps were updated.

Lee Ann Morning, office manager of the bureau’s Denver office, said her staff was caught off guard after an open house last December that received some news coverage.

Every phone in the office was ringing, and additional staff members were called in to handle the volume. Hundreds of calls rolled over to voicemail, which quickly filled up. Many callers were unable to get through.

“It was that kind of overwhelming response,” Ms. Morning said.

Similar scenes across the country surprised census officials. Besides the volume, the caliber of the applicants was unprecedented.

“We saw certainly college degrees, master’s degrees, Ph.D.’s, doctors, all kinds of people you wouldn’t think would be looking for a temporary part-time position,” Ms. Morning said.

The Census Bureau had planned on recruiting 700,000 applicants by April for address canvassing. It wound up getting 1.2 million by early February, prompting officials to mostly call off recruiting across the country. The deluge left them with databases already bursting with recruits, especially in large metropolitan areas.

“We’re trying not to give the public out there a false sense there’s all these jobs out there,” said Tony Farthing, the bureau’s New York regional director, who is being especially cautious in his area about advertising too widely.

The need varies across the country, depending on geography, the local unemployment rate and other considerations. In many areas, especially rural and urban ones, the bureau still needs to recruit aggressively. One of its top priorities is hiring from the communities where census takers will be working, making sure they are familiar with its nuances and even speak the language.

There is a greater need for workers in areas where the mail-in response rate to the census form has traditionally been lower. So in many areas where there may be the most interest in census jobs, like certain suburbs, the need might be lower.

“The interest will not match perfectly with where you believe the work is going to be,” said Dwight Dean, the Detroit regional director for the bureau.

There is little doubt, however, that jobs will affect those in need. Mina Lopez, 43, of Chandler, Ariz., was laid off in March 2008 from her position as a human resources specialist when Arizona State University slashed its budget.

Ms. Lopez, a single of mother of three who holds two master’s degrees, depleted her savings and was forced to hold garage sales every other week to raise cash.

But she landed a part-time $15-an-hour census position last April, as part of the bureau’s address canvassing campaign. It lasted only five weeks but helped arrest her financial freefall. She landed another part-time census position shortly after that and was eventually promoted to be an assistant manager for administration in the Phoenix office, making $19.25 an hour.

“It’s saved me and given me hope that I’m going to dig out of this hole,” she said.

MyTwoCensus Editorial: Press Conference Is A Farce Because Of Tech Failure

Friday, December 18th, 2009

On Monday, December 14, Dr. Robert M. Groves, Director of the Census Bureau, attempted to hold a press conference about the status of the 2010 Census. However, after only a handful of questions were asked during the Q&A time, the phone line for the conference call mysteriously died. I, like many other journalists, could see from my phone that I was still connected to the call, meaning that the audio from the Census Bureau’s end had simply gone dead. I called back in to the conference call and was re-connected to the event. Once connected, the phone line again remained silent. This was particularly annoying because prior to the glitch I was in line to ask a question, as were dozens of other journalists from across the country. I waited on the silent line for 15 minutes before realizing that this gaffe had effectively cut short Dr. Groves’ press conference, which is only the second one of this type (other than monthly operational briefings) he has given since taking office in July.

After this incident occurred, I e-mailed the Census Bureau’s public information office to inquire about how I could ask Dr. Groves my questions and and why the line went dead. I received the following reply, “Stephen — unfortunately the line went dead for everyone.  We don’t have a transcript and are researching how to get one. Do you have specific questions we can answer?” Since replying to this e-mail, I have had no response from the Census Bureau.

In the year 2009, failures of simple technology like are completely unacceptable. It is our hope that such operations issues are not indicative of the way that the 2010 Census will be run on a day to day basis. Making matters worse were the Census Bureau’s failure to apologize to the journalists who were dropped from the call and failure to provide a full transcript of the event, particularly after the audio breakdown.

We are still waiting for the transcript, an explanation, and an apology…

Revised Population Figures Now Official

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

The Census Bureau doesn’t always get their estimates right, and they permit cities and towns to refute the numbers by providing evidence that the Census Bureau’s count was wrong. Here are this year’s revised population estimates after all the challenges have come in:

Accepted Challenges to 2008 Population Estimates
Area State Challenge
Acceptance date
Original 7/1/2008
Population Estimate
Revised 7/1/2008
Population Estimate
Brookwood town AL 10/05/2009 1,449 1,977
Montevallo city AL 11/02/2009 6,061 6,318
Bella Vista town AR 09/30/2009 16,388 25,449
San Diego city CA 11/10/2009 1,279,329 1,305,754
Boulder city CO 11/10/2009 94,171 99,466
Colorado Springs city CO 11/24/2009 380,307 397,317
Doral city FL 11/10/2009 23,974 30,727
Jupiter town FL 11/24/2009 48,879 50,201
Lauderdale Lakes city FL 10/30/2009 31,004 32,119
Miami-Dade County FL 11/24/2009 2,398,245 2,478,745
North Miami Beach city FL 11/02/2009 37,997 41,247
Opa-Locka city FL 10/30/2009 15,287 16,574
Moscow city ID 10/30/2009 22,798 24,252
Rexburg city ID 11/10/2009 28,028 28,459
Oak Park village IL 11/10/2009 49,557 53,187
Great Bend city KS 10/05/2009 15,564 15,638
Lexington-Fayette Urban County KY 10/30/2009 282,114 292,240
Jefferson Parish LA 11/02/2009 436,181 444,655
Orleans Parish LA 11/24/2009 311,853 336,644
Boston city MA 11/24/2009 609,023 620,535
Bridgewater town MA 11/10/2009 25,774 27,218
Fitchburg city MA 11/10/2009 40,239 42,215
North Reading town MA 11/10/2009 17,272 14,444
Springfield city MA 11/10/2009 150,640 155,521
Westfield city MA 11/10/2009 40,608 42,125
Winthrop town MA 11/10/2009 21,880 17,943
Worcester city MA 11/10/2009 175,011 182,596
Independence city MO 10/30/2009 110,440 121,212
Kansas City city MO 11/02/2009 451,572 480,129
St. Louis city MO 10/30/2009 354,361 356,730
Winston-Salem city NC 10/05/2009 217,600 227,834
Rockland County NY 11/02/2009 298,545 298,747
Geauga County OH 11/10/2009 94,753 98,817
West Milgrove village OH 07/17/2009 77 166
Philadelphia city PA 11/24/2009 1,447,395 1,540,351
Bluffton town SC 11/24/2009 4,312 12,333
Germantown city TN 11/02/2009 37,251 41,011
Newport News city VA 11/10/2009 179,614 193,212

Black Leaders Express Census Concerns

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Leaders of the National Urban League and the NAACP — as well as Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson — say they’re worried that the 2010 Census will drop the ball on accurately counting African-Americans. Here’s the full story, from the Associated Press, on their meeting with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke yesterday:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Black groups on Wednesday urged the government to improve the count of African-Americans in next year’s high-stakes census, saying they won’t be satisfied with a tally that has historically overlooked millions in their community.

The National Urban League, the NAACP, Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson met with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to voice their concerns the Census Bureau might not be doing enough to ensure an accurate tally. Roughly 3 million blacks were missed in 2000, while many whites were overcounted.

”The undercount of blacks in the last count and the overcount of whites by 1 percent is not just a Washington statistic,” Sharpton said at a news briefing after the meeting. ”It manifests itself in goods and services that cost us.”

”We want what is ours,” he said.

The groups called for the Census Bureau, an agency of the Commerce Department, to expand its paid advertising to cities such as Newark, N.J.; Oakland, Calif.; parts of Mississippi and other areas that have high percentages of hard-to-count blacks, many of whom are distrustful of government workers.

They also are pushing for more census funding specifically targeted at black communities. About $23 million, or roughly 17 percent of the $133 million allocated for media buys, is currently earmarked for black communities to promote the census.

The black leaders said they wanted to see a change in how the government tallies prisoners, so they are counted as residents of the cities in which they previously lived, not in the places where a prison is located.

”There are a lot more things that have to be done for us to say that we are confident that this plan can address the historic undercount in this nation,” said Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League and chair of the 2010 Census Advisory Committee.

Commerce officials said the Census Bureau would take a second look at its $300 million communications campaign to determine if there are ways to make it better. The bureau kicks off its ad campaign next month and will conduct its head count via mail and door-to-door canvassing next spring.

”African Americans and other minority communities have been consistently undercounted in past censuses so we’re grateful to the respected leaders we met with for their commitment to achieving an accurate count,” Locke said in a statement.

The population figures, gathered every 10 years, are used to apportion House seats and distribute nearly $450 billion in federal aid.

Newspaper Publishers Revenues Decline in 2008

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

OK, so the following post isn’t related to the 2010 Census, but it just goes to show you why sites like MyTwoCensus are becoming more and more necessary,  as newspapers across the US go bust! The following comes from today’s Census Bureau press release about the Bureau’s American information economy statistics that were just released:

Newspaper publishers experienced a single-year decline in total revenue
of 8.3 percent — from $47.9 billion in 2007 to $43.9 billion in 2008. This
followed a more modest decline of 2.7 percent in 2007, the U.S. Census
Bureau reported today.

A major contributor to the overall loss in revenues for the industry was
the decline in advertising space revenue for general newspapers, which
dropped 10.2 percent — from $30.9 billion in 2007 to $27.8 billion in
2008. Revenue from newspaper subscriptions remained largely unchanged
over the period, from $8.3 billion in 2007 to $8.2 billion in 2008.

These estimates come from the 2008 Service Annual Survey: Information
Sector Services. The survey provides national estimates of annual revenue
and expenses for industries primarily engaged in producing, processing and
distributing data, which range from motion picture production to libraries.

“When we measure information as a commodity, it allows us to track
trends in various industries, such as newspaper publishers, motion picture
and sound recording industries, and radio and television broadcasting, that
produce and distribute information as the source of their revenue,” said
Mark Wallace, chief of the Service Sector Statistics Division at the U.S.
Census Bureau. “Businesses can then use these data to examine market share,
evaluate business potential and plan their investment strategies.”

Radio stations saw a 6.7 percent decline in revenues in 2008 — from
$13.6 billion to $12.7 billion — a decrease from the relatively flat
levels
observed since 2005. Local radio station air time revenue for broadcasting
advertising and program content (commercials, infomercials, real estate
listings and sponsorships) fell 9.5 percent — from $9.0 billion in 2007 to
$8.1 billion in 2008.

Cable and other subscription programming, such as producing and
broadcasting television programs for cable and satellite television
systems,
continued to see increased revenues, climbing from $40.9 billion in 2007 to
$45.1 billion in 2008 — an 10.1 percent increase.

Over the same period, Internet publishing and broadcasting revenues grew
19.8 percent from $16.7 billion to $20 billion, spurred in part by the
increase in revenue from one of its sources, publishing and broadcasting of
Internet content, which increased 19.6 percent — from $8.7 billion in
2007 to $10.4 billion in 2008.

Summary data (total revenue and total expenses) are provided at the
sector, subsector and industry group level for the survey year and past
years. Detailed expense data are published for select sectors and
subsectors. Industry specific data, such as product line and detailed
revenue
(source of funding), are provided for selected industries.

The information sector is classified under the North American Industry
Classification System as NAICS 51.

Group’s 2010 Census promo called ‘blasphemous’

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

From USA Today:

A push to spread the gospel about the 2010 Census this Christmas is stoking controversy with a campaign that links the government count to events surrounding the birth of Jesus.

censusadx-large

The National Association of Latino Elected Officials is leading the distribution to churches and clergy of thousands of posters that depict the arrival of Joseph and a pregnant Mary in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago. As chronicled in the Gospel of Luke, Joseph returned to be counted in a Roman census, but he and Mary found no room at an inn, and Jesus was born in a manger.

“This is how Jesus was born,” the poster states. “Joseph and Mary participated in the Census.”

Most of the posters are in Spanish and target Latino evangelicals, says Jose Cruz, senior director of civic engagement at the Latino association, which launched its Ya Es Hora (It’s Time) campaign in 2006 to promote voter registration among Latinos.

It is promoting the Census, used to help allocate $400 billion a year in federal dollars, redraw state and local political districts and determine the number of seats each state gets in Congress.

2010 Census event in NYC tonight!!!

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
Counting Us Out? Why Everyone Should Care about the Census Undercount
Date: December 15, 2009
Time: 6:00 PM
Hunter College
Faculty Dining Room
West Building, 8th Floor
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY
RSVP

As Census workers begin their outreach, efforts to reach the nation’s nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants have already raised concerns over whether there will be an accurate tally of immigrant residents, both documented and undocumented. Immigrant communities clearly have much at stake in ensuring that their members are fully counted. Why should citizens care about whether non-citizens are counted? The interests of native-born residents are also served by the inclusion of non-citizens; census data affect policy decisions, government funding levels, and the political apportionment of congressional districts. National experts will discuss the 2010 decennial census count and its implications for residents (citizens and non-citizens alike) and communities all around the nation.

This event is hosted by Demos, in collaboration with the Advancement Project, Baruch College School of Public Affairs, the Center for the Study of Brooklyn at Brooklyn College, The Century Foundation, Citizens Union, Common Cause/ New York, the Drum Major Institute, Hunter College Department of Urban Planning & Affairs, Hunter College Graduate Student Association, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the League of Women Voters of the City of New York, the Long Island Community Foundation, the National Institute for Latino Policy, the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York Immigration Coalition, LatinoJustice PRDLEF, the Progressive States Network, and the Women’s City Club of New York.

Panelists Include:
•       Steven Carbó, Senior Program Director, Democracy Program, Demos (Moderator)
•       Amy Traub, Director of Research, Drum Major Institute for Public Policy
•       Joseph Salvo, Director, Population Division, New York City Department of City Planning
•       Corrine Yu, Senior Counsel and Managing Policy Director, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
•       Fernando Armstrong, Regional Director, U.S. Census Bureau’s Philadelphia Regional Office
•       Norman Eng, Director of Media Relations, New York Immigration Coalition

To RSVP or for more information, please contact Jinny Khanduja at jkhanduja@demos.org or 212.389.1399, or click here.

Live-blogging a conference call with Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves…

Monday, December 14th, 2009

10:00 – pretty sure the census bureau dropped the ball on this one because i called back in and the line is dead…either the call is over or more likely the census bureau/call center made some sort of error…

9:55 – KNOCKED OFF THE CALL…did it go dead? my line is still working fine…come on!

9:52 – Question: Why don’t you mention single, unattached people under age 30 as a hard-to-count group?

9:31 – 134 million addresses in the USA. As of now, they are 2% points high, compared to 5% high in the 2000 address…there were more duplicates then.

9:29 – go in pairs, with escorts, in high crime areas (for census enumerators)…

9:28 – safety in america: FBI NAME-CHECK…ALL APPLICANTS UNDERGOING FINGERPRINTING…on criminal history check, any convinces for major crimes such as grand theft, child molestation…etc…”if there are convictions of less serious crimes then the applicant can be hired if they don’t pose a risk to the american public”  – With so many people OUT OF WORK who don’t have felonies, why would you hire felons????

9:26 – Over 3.8 million people are being recruited for 1.2 million through 1.4 million people. 700,000 people working for the largest operation, Non-Response Follow Up from May through July 2010.

9:21 – Complete Count Committees forming…who ensures that there is bi-partisan representation on these 9,100 committees (37 in states). But are they bipartisan and independent?

9:20 – 135,000 partner organizations with the 2010 census…here’s one who’s not a partner anymore: ACORN

9:18 – 3 large processing centers open

9:17 – Grovesy talks about the ad campaign that’s getting started. Starting enumeration in Alaska in January. In March, most of the US population receives their forms. April 1 is Census Day (and April Fools Day…ah)…people should return their forms by this day. Otherwise the door-knockers will come knock knock knocking…some talk of reapportionment. In April 2011 the state-redistricting data for local/regional races is distributed.

9:16 – Grovesy’s giving us a quick history lesson about the Census….founding fathers yadda yadda…yawn

9:15 – Dr. Groves is in da house so to speak for the second operational press briefing (shouldn’t we have more of these?)

9:15 – 2010 Census PR Man Stephen Buckner is on the line…

9:13 – We are still standing by…this hold music is now reminiscent of terrible elevator rides.

9:07 – Kind of enjoying the jazz rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer…on second thought, take as much time as you need to start this call.

9:05 – Come on Grovesy…I’m hungry for answers. (Still waiting for call to begin…)

8:59  – Call should begin shortly…

** CENSUS BUREAU MEDIA ADVISORY **

Census Bureau Director to Provide Update on
Status of 2010 Census Operations

What:         U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves will brief the media on the status of 2010 Census operations. Groves will provide an assessment of the Master Address File, which serves as the source of addresses for mailing and delivering more than 130 million 2010 Census forms next March. He will also provide  updates on outreach activities and other logistical operations under way.  The briefing will include a question-and-answer session.

When:        Monday, Dec. 14, 9 – 10 a.m. (EST)

Where:        National Press Club, 13th floor
Fourth Estate Restaurant
529 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20045

Members of the media may also participate by telephone. (Please dial-in early to allow time for the operator to place you in the call.)

A Cohort Of Census Bureau Officials Stay At The Ritz Carlton…On Your Dime!

Friday, December 11th, 2009

From BergersBeat.com:

At least one local purchaser of distressed commercial real estate tells the columnist that a St. Louis Chrysler plant will be hitting the market any edition. Broker? DESCO says the tipster. . .Which three additional local banks are this close to takeovers?. . .Taking a census at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Clayton, an insider noted that a party of 15 from the U.S. Census Bureau stayed there – not even in the City of St. Louis, where Missouri’s Census of Schools was launched by the bureau’s director Dr. Robert Groves.

Are we going to have to file a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request to find out whether this is true? Hopefully not, as we just inquired about this with the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office. To be fair, the Census Bureau could have negotiated a pretty hefty corporate discount at The Ritz, particularly because it’s doubtful that the place is swirling with customers in this economy. But as one GOP insider said to us, “No wonder their budget’s out of control!”

UPDATE: Dr. Groves did NOT stay at the Ritz. And the other government officials stayed there for $110 per night (government rate). Case closed. (See below for the official Census Bureau response!)

Stephen,

Dr. Groves did not spend the night. He flew into St. Louis for the day to
participate in a Census-in-Schools event with Subcommittee Chairman Lacy
Clay and officials from the City of St. Louis. Three Census Bureau staff
members from Headquarters and nine from the Kansas City Region were in town
to support this event, which required a lot of preparation and received
national and local press coverage. Staff also were involved in operational
and partnership activities involving the Director and Chairman Clay. This
is an area that had a low mail response rate in 2000, so extra efforts by
regional staff are critical to improve the response rate and decrease the
undercount. Census Bureau staff stayed at the Ritz-Carlton because it is
centrally located and offers the government rate of $110 per night.

Burton H. Reist
Assistant to the Associate Director
Communications Directorate

MyTwoCensus Investigation: Concerns About The Political Makeup Of Complete Count Committees

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

After reading a report in the Austin Republican Examiner (featured below), MyTwoCensus is extremely concerned by the fact that Complete Count Committees are not always bi-partisan entities with independent non-political voices also serving in leadership capacities. As there have been concerns about a lack of participation in the 2010 Census by Republicans, a charge being led by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), it is all the more important for Republican voices (in this instance) to be present on Complete Count Committees, so rumors about the goals of the 2010 Census and accusations of bias will not exist. While Travis County, where Austin, Texas is located, consistently votes Democratic (64% for Obama compared to 35% for McCain in 2008), there is no good reason why Republicans are not serving as chairs or on the board of the Austin Complete Count Committee.

MyTwoCensus urges any readers who are aware of other instances in which one political party controls a municipal, local, regional, or state Complete Count Committee to please report these problems to us.

Here’s the original op-ed that prompted this investigation:

Are Democrats hijacking the Austin census?

By Brandon Lighton

Census time is upon us yet again, and thankfully we still have at least one government enterprise that has not yet become explicitly partisan. Oh, wait…

“Mayor Lee Leffingwell and County Judge Sam Biscoe joined members of the citizen driven Complete Count Committee to launch the 2010 Census efforts on Monday, November 30, 2009 at City Hall.

The 2010 Census Complete Count Committee is Chaired by Judge Eric Shepperd, Constable Bruce Elfant and Alejandro Ruelas, Managing Partner, LatinWorks.”

So we have the Democrat mayor of Austin and a Democrat County Judge overseeing this operation. But thats okay, right? We still have the committee membes themselves to maintain the integrity of the census. So let’s take a look at those committee members:

Eric Shepperd – Democrat Judge, County Court at Law, Place 2

Bruce Elfant – Democrat Constable

Alejandro Ruelas – Finally, someone who isn’t a candidate. Someone who can balance out the partisan bias of the other committee members. Oh wait, he’s a Democratic Party donor. Oops.

So we have a Democrat mayor, two Democrat judges, a Democrat constable, and a Democratic Party donor to boot. Sound like a recipe for a fair and accurate census to you?

This is just another step in a long trend of Democrats politicizing the census, starting with the Obama administration’s decision to take over the census itself instead of allowing a nonpartisan group to do it like the other 43 presidents have done. When the 2010 census comes out and Democratic constituencies have miraculously gained ground in Austin, at least try to act surprised.