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 January, 2010

N.Y. lawmakers criticize inmate census rule

Friday, January 29th, 2010

In New York, two state lawmakers (with Rev. Al Sharpton) are criticizing the Census Bureau policy of counting inmates in the district where they are incarcerated, rather than their home communities.

From the Albany Times-Union:

The longtime U.S. Census Bureau guideline was denounced as “prison-based gerrymandering” by Sen. Eric Schneiderman, D-Manhattan, and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, D-Brooklyn, who were joined by Sharpton and more than two dozen advocacy groups at a news conference at New York City Hall.

“This is an injustice all across America,” Schneiderman said. “We pass hundreds and hundreds of bills every year about highways and forestry and insurance and sewers. This bill is different. This bill is about justice.”

The Times-Union also delves into the pros and cons of the current policy, which a regional manager tells the paper is unlikely to change this year:

Alice Green, executive director for the Center of Law and Justice in Albany, has opposed the Census policy for more than two decades. “Prisoners are not allowed to vote, but yet we count them and then exploit them,” she said.

Because of the location of most state prisons, Census Bureau policy tends to benefit the upstate population count.

New York’s rural 45th Senate District, which includes Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Warren and Washington counties, houses over 13,500 inmates incarcerated in 13 prisons.

Queensbury Republican Sen. Elizabeth Little, who has represented the district since 2002, supports the current Census Bureau guidelines.

“How do we know these people are going to go back to their hometowns once — or if — they are released?,” Little said. “Are they serving life sentences? Do they still have family in their hometowns?”

Poll finds that Hispanics lack knowledge about census

Friday, January 29th, 2010

A recent Pew survey found that the Census Bureau has a ways to go in educating the public about the census, and new data from Ipsos and Telemundo shows that the problem is particularly acute among Hispanics.

AdWeek has more on the new survey:

The survey found that the proportion of those who have never heard of the Census is slightly higher among Hispanics than it is among the U.S. population at large (18 percent vs. 11 percent). And the proportion of those who have heard of it but know nothing more about it is also higher among Hispanics than it is among the total U.S. population (31 percent vs. 23 percent).

The survey found that only half of Hispanics know either “a little” or “a lot” about the Census (52 percent), compared with two-thirds among the U.S. public at large (65 percent).

That said, most of the Hispanics polled indicated they believed the Census was important, with 84 percent agreeing that they and their families intend to be counted.

New York Times gets ‘Ten Minutes’ with Groves

Monday, January 25th, 2010

The New York Times’ politics blog, The Caucus, recently launched its “Ten Minutes” video series, and this week’s guest was Census Director Robert Groves.

To watch Groves talk about the Census and his role in making it happen, check out the video and accompanying blog post here.

GOP ‘census’ forms could be misleading

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Since 2000, the Republican Party has sent out mock-census forms to fundraise for GOP candidates — but this year, these mailings may get confused with real Census forms.

The mailer, which arrives in an envelope marked “DO NOT DESTROY, OFFICIAL DOCUMENT” and labeled with a “tracking code,” contains 36 questions on political issues and a request for a donation.

The questionnaire includes items such as “Do you think the record trillion dollar federal deficit the Democrats are creating with their out-of-control spending is going to have disastrous consequences for our nation?” and “Do you believe the Obama Administration is right in dramatically scaling back our nation’s military?”

A “knowledgeable Republican operative” explained the mailing’s benefits to Politico’s Ben Smith:

Of course duping people is the point…that’s one of the reasons why it works so well. The others: low per piece cost — they drop hundreds of thousands of pieces at a time, and will likely mail millions this year. And incredible targeting.

But citizens and politicians alike are objecting to the content. Organizing for America Tennessee director Justin Wilkins told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that the mailings are “disappointing” and “vilifying, fearmongering rhetoric,” and conservative writer Ira Stoll raised objections about multiple aspects of the ‘census’ forms:

It’s problematic for three reasons. First, it uses the word “census” repeatedly to convey the false impression that it is a government document. “DO NOT DESTROY OFFICIAL DOCUMENT,” the envelope says. Inside, the letterhead says “2010 Congressional District Census” and includes a survey with faux-official language like “Census Tracking Code” and “Census Certification and Reply” and “Census Document.” The text of the letter includes a sentence that says “And when you send back your completed Census, I urge you to also demonstrate your commitment to the Republican Party by including a generous donation of $25, $50, $100, $250 — or even $500.” All this could easily dupe an unsuspecting target into thinking, incorrectly, that it was part of the real 2010 government census.

Census count begins in Alaska Monday

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Census Bureau director Robert M. Groves will travel to Alaska Monday to begin the official tally for the 2010 Census.

Groves is slated to count the first household in Noorvik, a remote Inupiat Eskimo village located north of Arctic Circle.

The AP has some background and more details:

Monday’s single count will be the only one conducted by Groves, and the rest of Noorvik’s population will be enumerated beginning Tuesday. Census workers and trained locals are expected to take a week to interview villagers from the same 10-question forms to be mailed to most residents March 15. Census workers also will visit 217 other rural communities, all in Alaska, in the coming weeks.

Alaskans in rural communities not linked by roads have been the first people counted since the 1990 census. The unlinked communities are the places where the process is first conducted in person by census workers. The bureau makes personal visits to nonresponding residents around the country.

It’s easier to get census workers to the Alaska villages before the spring thaw brings a muddy mess, making access more difficult, said Ralph Lee, director of the bureau’s Seattle region, which oversees Alaska. Also, residents in many villages still live off the land, hunting and fishing for their food, and it’s important to reach them before they set off for fishing camps or hunting expeditions when the weather begins to warm.

Poll: Just 31 percent know census is required by law

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

A survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press shows that Census Bureau still has a ways to go in educating U.S residents about the 2010 Census.

Though 90 percent of respondents said the census was very or somewhat important, the survey underscored the public’s lack of knowledge about the decennial count. Only 31 percent knew census participation is required by law. Answers about the census’ purpose fared somewhat better: 59 percent knew that the census is used to appropriate government funds and 64 percent knew the census determines congressional representation.

The survey comes as Bureau begins heavy promotion of the census: A $133-million advertising campaign began this week and a road tour was launched earlier this month.

The first stage of the ad campaign will focus on awareness and the Bureau has spent much time touting its outreach efforts — with nonprofits, minority groups and others. But it’s now evident that awareness about the census isn’t enough (84 percent of survey participants had heard of the census, and a full 92 percent were familiar with it after hearing a description) — education must be a key part of the marketing plans.

Perhaps owing to this lack of education, the poll also found that 18 percent of those surveyed may not participate in the 2010 Census. Ten percent said they might not fill out the form, 6 percent said they definitely or probably would not and 2 percent said they were unsure. Top reasons for not participating included a lack of interest or knowledge and a distrust of government.

Readers, what do you think: What’s the best way to educate the public about the cenus?

OIG assesses Census challenges

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Two reports recently issued by the Office of the Inspector General, one the latest quarterly report on the 2010 Census, released last month, and one on the top management challenges facing the Commerce Department, released this month, shed new light on potential issues and trends to watch with this year’s Census.

First, the December report acknowledges that the Census Bureau is moving forward with its important operations for the year, including the completion of address canvassing in July and and group quarters validation in October.

The address canvassing, while completed successfully last year, was $88 million — almost 25 percent — over budget. In order to make up for this overrun, the Census Bureau is now revising its budget for non-response follow up.

One major concern addressed in both reports is the Census Bureau’s ability to successfully develop its paper based operations control system (PBOCS).

After the Census Bureau abandon plans for handheld computers to deal with non-response follow-up, the Bureau took over the development of the PBOCS; this means, the report says, that the system will have to be completed much more quickly:

As a result of the highly compressed schedule, the system will undergo less testing than desirable. And once deployed, there is no margin for error. Hundreds of thousands of NRFU enumerators must be able to receive and submit completed assignments, and the bureau must be able to monitor progress. Documented contingency plans currently do not exist, and in the event PBOCS experiences serious operational problems or failures, the decennial schedule would be seriously jeopardized and costs would surely increase. Successful PBOCS development, testing, and implementation represent one of the most significant decennial challenges facing the Department.

This month’s report also addresses the rising cost of the Census and the need to develop cost-effective strategies this year to prevent the necessary funding from skyrocketing in the 2020 Census. According to the report, the price of conducting the Census has doubled every decade since 1970 — meaning the 2020 Census could cost almost $30 billion unless new strategies are developed this time around. The report describes the Census Bureau as an “insular organization that eschews open dialogue with outside parties and even its own regional offices,” saying that outside input must be sought in order to create new, cost-effective strategies.

The reports address other Census-related risks being discussed by the Census Bureau, such as what to do in the event of an H1N1 influenza outbreak. The Census Bureau’s Risk Review Board began drafting plans for H1N1 outbreaks in October.

The full reports can be read here and here.

Census data: Wives increasingly the partner with higher income

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

A new analysis of census data from the Pew Research Center says that more men are marrying women who earn more than they do.

The New York Times reports:

“Men now are increasingly likely to marry wives with more education and income than they have, and the reverse is true for women,” said Paul Fucito, spokesman for the Pew Center. “In recent decades, with the rise of well-paid working wives, the economic gains of marriage have been a greater benefit for men.”

The analysis examines Americans 30 to 44 years old, the first generation in which more women than men have college degrees. Women’s earnings have been increasing faster than men’s since the 1970s.

“We’ve known for some time that men need marriage more than women from the standpoint of physical and mental well-being,” said Stephanie Coontz, a professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and research director for the Council on Contemporary Families, a research and advocacy group. “Now it is becoming increasingly important to their economic well-being as well.”

And Jezebel has a closer look at the data and a round-up of how it’s been covered in the media.

Iraq plans to conduct first census since 1987

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

In a bit of news from across the globe, Iraq will hold its first census in more than 20 years later this year.

Reuters has more:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Plans are on track to take Iraq’s first complete census in 23 years, a process that will help answer questions critical to the future of Iraq’s northern oilfields, such as “how many Kurds live in Kirkuk?”

The long-delayed count, which may shut down the country for two days in October, is also expected to determine how many Iraqis live abroad and how many have been forced to move within Iraq in seven years of war, census chief Mehdi al-Alak said.

The census was postponed for a year over worries it was being politicized. Ethnic groups in contested areas like the northern city of Kirkuk, home to Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and a valuable part of Iraq’s oil fields, opposed it because it might reveal demographics that would undermine political ambitions.

The count could provide answers or create more squabbles in a diverse nation riven by sectarian violence following the U.S. invasion in 2003 and now trying to bolster fragile security gains while deciding how to share out its vast oil wealth. Iraq has the world’s 3rd largest crude oil reserves.

The autonomous Kurdish region in the north claims Kirkuk as its own. The census will determine whether Kurds are the biggest ethnic bloc in the city, which could bolster that claim.

It will also find out how many people live in Iraqi Kurdistan, which will define its slice of central government revenues, currently 17 percent. If the census finds Kurds are a greater percentage of the total population, the constitution says the region gets more money, and retroactive payments.

Police release 911 tape from death of Ky. census worker

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Police records released yesterday showed that Kentucky census worker William Sparkman, found hanging from a tree near a cemetery in November, had told a friend of his plan to commit suicide.

WKYT in Lexington, Ky., has audio from the 911 tape from the day Sparkman’s body was found. At the time, police said Sparkman’s death was a suicide staged to look like a murder, but further details — including the 911 call and that Sparkman had disclosed his plans to a friend — were not released until this week.

Listen to the 911 tape here (it’s about a minute in to the segment).

Police say Ky. census worker told friend of suicide plan

Friday, January 15th, 2010

An update from the Associated Press on the death of William Sparkman, a census worker in Kentucky who was found dead in an apparent suicide in November:

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Police who investigated the death of an eastern Kentucky census worker found naked, bound and hanging from a tree learned that he told a friend he intended to kill himself and that he had chosen the time, place and method to do it.

Police records about the death of Bill Sparkman were released Friday to The Associated Press.

Sparkman was found near a rural cemetery in September with the word “fed” scrawled on his chest. It triggered a state and federal investigation that ultimately found he had committed suicide.

Calendar of road tour stops

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

One of our commenters wrote last week that the Census Bureau should release a full schedule of stops for its Portrait of America Road Tour to promote the census — and it looks like one is finally up.

The color-coded calendar, which also includes other Census Bureau events, is available from the Bureau’s web site, and syncs with iCal, Outlook and Google Calendar. It’s also available via RSS.

You can also follow the locations of the road tour vehicles on Twitter.

Census advertising campaign begins Sunday (VIDEO)

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

We have a few of the advertising spots from the ad campaign for the 2010 Census.

The Census Bureau‘s first advertising spot will air during the Golden Globe Awards Sunday night.

Here are some of the ads, courtesy of the Washington Post, Advertising Age and Ad Week.

Mail It Back:

The Announcement:

Next 10 Years:

Let us know what you think in the comments, and we’ll have more ads and analysis over the next few weeks.

Census Bureau to roll out ad campaign tomorrow

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

The Census Bureau is unveiling its $133-million advertising campaign tomorrow.

A Washington, D.C., event hosted by CBS sports broadcaster James Brown will kickoff the campaign, which includes television, radio, print, online and outdoor advertisements.

USA Today has a preview of what we’ll see from the Bureau’s ads in the coming weeks:

Today, the Census Bureau unveils a $133 million national advertising campaign that will debut at 9:15 p.m. ET Sunday during the Golden Globe Awards on NBC.

The money is part of $340 million the government is spending to promote the Census this year, including more than $70 million for ads targeting Hispanic, black, Asian and other ethnic markets.

The campaign chiefly targets the 84% of the U.S. population that consumes English-language media, but ads on billboards, radio and TV and in magazines and newspapers will circulate in 27 other languages.

The first of five TV ads directed by actor/writer Christopher Guest (This is Spinal Tap,Best in Show) showcases Guest’s signature style — using dry wit to showcase life’s absurdities.

In the first ad airing Sunday, a film director played by Ed Begley Jr. announces with dramatic flourish his latest ambitious project: Creating a portrait of “every man, woman and child in this beautiful country of ours.” The ad ends with two people whispering: “Isn’t that what the Census is doing?”

The campaign will feature different themes, says Jeff Tarakajian, executive vice president at Draftfcb, the lead ad agency, which is working with subcontractors who specialize in specific ethnic groups.

One theme is “10 questions, 10 minutes” to highlight the ease of filling out the form.

Another ad will have a crowd cheering as someone walks to a mailbox to send in the form.

Doubts over 2010 Census’ ability to jumpstart economy

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

The U.S. government is hiring about 1.2 million temporary workers for the 2010 Census, but it’s questionable whether those positions will give a major, sustained boost to the economy.

Though news outlets such as the New York Times and Bloomberg have reported on expectations that census hiring will jumpstart an economic recovery, others, such as Daniel Indiviglio in the Atlantic, are now asserting that the rebound will be weak at best.

As we’ve noted before, these positions are temporary — about six weeks — so they don’t provide the long-term income that could lead to increased spending or significant improvements in the unemployment rate, now at 10 percent. Indiviglio also makes some interesting points about the nature of the census jobs:

What’s worse, these jobs are utterly unproductive. These aren’t manufacturing jobs where these individuals are creating products to be sold overseas. They’re not infrastructure jobs that will improve roads and make commerce more efficient. They’re not even construction jobs to weatherize homes and help drive down U.S. energy costs. These workers will be walking from door to door and taking a count. Nothing will be produced except for some statistics, with no direct economic value.

Finally, census work might be better than no work, but that’s all it’s better than. These are likely jobs that will contribute very little to most of these individuals’ skill sets and career development. That means, other than perhaps timing, they’ll likely be in no better position to get a good job after the census ends than they were beforehand.

That said, the Census Bureau needs workers and, in this economy, it’s hard to be too critical of officials and economists touting the jobs the census brings, even if the claims of a major economic impact are dubious. As Bloomberg notes, the census is still likely to be the biggest single source of new jobs in the coming months:

The surge will probably dwarf any hiring by private employers early in 2010 as companies delay adding staff until they are convinced the economic recovery will be sustained.

Learning from the “Negro” controversy

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

The word “Negro” has appeared on census forms for at least 60 years, but many African Americans are taking offense to the Census Bureau using the word as a response choice in a question about race.

On Ad Age’s Big Tent blog, Pepper Miller has some good insights on the controversy surrounding the wording. Here’s an except, and check out the full post here.

After having conducted research for the 2000 and 2010 Census African-American ad campaigns, I was neither surprised nor turned off by the Census Bureau’s intent to develop inclusive options, especially given that more that 50,000 people wrote in “Negro” as their race during the 2000 Census.

I’m not the only one who thinks Wilson’s allegation that some first-timers may not participate because of the “Negro” option may be an overreaction.

“I doubt that younger voters would be that turned off, given that terms like “Ho and Ni***ga are acceptable to many of them,” says a consultant on the African-American consumer market, Jacklynn Topping. “While the word ‘Negro’ has certainly fallen out of favor, it’s more dated than offensive.” Topping adds. “In my opinion, had it never been brought up, many young people might laugh at the term, if they noticed it at all, and check it anyway.”

She concludes:

The community is more united on participating in the Census than not, but are divided on this issue. In this case, there will be some tension arising from a younger generation not necessarily keen on the word ‘Negro,’ but I don’t expect it to become a huge issue.

Views from the Census Bureau: A critique of coverage

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Here is a contribution from a Census employee. MyTwoCensus grants anonymity to Census Bureau employees who wish to tell their stories or express their views on issues surrounding the 2010 Census without fear of repercussions. Census employees who would like to contribute to the site can find details on our contact page. The following does not reflect the opinions of MyTwoCensus or its editors.

Here is my complaint about a very poor piece of journalism published by The Economist in their special edition titled “The World in 2010″. Perhaps the story about the 2010 Census, headlined “Counting Heads” was meant to be nothing more than infotainment. If so, for those of who who take the census seriously, this story by John Grimond should have carried a warning against reading it.

The writer’s failure to discuss the graphic on the same page as the article tells us that he probably did not understand it. The graphic, a map indicating which states are like to gain or lose representation in Congress based on expected changes in the size of their populations, is sourced to the Population Reference Bureau. Is the Population Reference Bureau’s web site a better source of information about the 2010 Census than The Economist?

The reporter’s ignorance of statistics is another problem. He writes “The longer form used to be sent only to a selection of households, from which general conclusions were inferred.” More precisely, the long form used to be sent to a sample of households, from which estimates were made. Grimond also writes “The details…are now gathered by an annual survey of a small proportion of the population”. Once more, Grimond should have used the word sample instead of the word proportion.

Grimond says “…gerrymandering is now elaborated by computers, not pens…”. Decades ago, this was news. Anyway, computers do not gerrymander redistricting; people use computers to gerrymander redistricting. As even Grimond reminds us, pens can can be used to gerrymander redistricting.

In Grimond’s last paragraph, he tells us that the 2010 Census “will end with the news that the resident population stands at  311,349,543 at year-end, give or take a few hundred thousand.” While Grimond appears to have the April 1 population count confused with  the year-end delivery of that count, that is not the bigger problem. Given the insufficient work done to prepare for the 2010 Census, it is irresponsible to state a population projection without giving its source and explaining how it was arrived at. Both the 2006 Census Test and the 2008 Census Dress Rehearsal were incomplete tests, reduced in scope by budget cuts. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves has told us of a systems test. There is no reason to think this systems test involved any real data. If it was an actual test, you would have been given some information about the test.

The 2010 Census will deliver a massive amount of messy data. Duplicate enumerations, unforeseen record linkage results, missing data and mistakes, perhaps badly covered up, mean that determining the population count may not follow a plan. Let no one suggest a population count to the Census Bureau now.

Grimond’s qualification, “give or take a few hundred thousand”, thoughtlessly suggests that the 2010 Census error will be smaller than Census 2000 error. Census error cannot be known in advance.

If you missed Grimond’s story on the 2010 Census, don’t bother reading it.

Nevada awards $866,000 public relations contract

Monday, January 11th, 2010

The public relations firm Weber Shandwick has been awarded an $866,000 contract for a 2010 Census outreach program in Nevada, according to a press release from the company.

The Nevada Secretary of State’s office awarded the contract.

A few more details from Weber Shandwick:

The Minneapolis office of Weber Shandwick, which directs the firm’s work on the national Census effort, has assigned a separate team to lead the Nevada campaign. The Nevada program includes advertising support from Sawyer Miller Advertising and Hispanic and African American outreach by Weber Shandwick’s multi-cultural firm, the Axis Agency. Weber Shandwick has subcontracted with The Ferraro Group of Reno and Las Vegas to assist in executing the plan. Weber Shandwick’s contract runs through the end of April.

Cincinnati, Census Bureau disagree about addresses

Monday, January 11th, 2010

A bit of controversy is brewing in Cincinnati, as city officials are urging the Census Bureau to mail census forms to addresses that the Bureau claims do not exist. The Bureau removed thousands of Cincinnati addresses from its master address file — which should include every housing unit in the United States — but the city says some of those addresses are valid.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports:

After canvassing every neighborhood and allowing local governments to give input, Cincinnati says the Census Bureau took out 12,534 addresses in the city – many of them without explanation. City officials believe at least 3,063 addresses are valid, and want them put back.

“The effort to get an accurate count begins with the address check, with that master list of addresses, making sure that the census has all the information that we as a city have about where people live,” said Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, who heads a census task force for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

And according to the newspaper, Cincinnati is far from the only municipality to appeal the Census Bureau’s address list:

Cincinnati’s complaint is one of about 2,200 that have been sent to a special appeals panel – twice as many appeals as were filed a decade ago. Those appeals contain 1.7 million addresses.

The government hasn’t released a list of those appeals, but the Boone County Planning Commission also has appealed 1,458 addresses it says are missing: 337 in Florence, nine in Union and 1,112 in unincorporated Boone County.

Philip N. Fulton, the director of the Census Bureau’s appeals staff, said it’s impossible for his staff of 30 people to review each one of those addresses individually. Instead, his staff looks at whether the city has done a “logical, rigorous analysis.” If so, he said, Cincinnati will get the benefit of the doubt.

“(The appeal process) is an effort by Congress to give communities an opportunity to be heard, and it’s in their favor,” he said. “We go into this with the mentality that this local government has a case, otherwise they wouldn’t put so much work into it.”

Cincinnati’s complaint that addresses were removed without explanation is a common one.

“That’s happening all over the country,” Fulton said. “And that factor is leading to more appeals.”

It’s clear that getting a census form to all addresses is crucial for an accurate count. But wasting forms and time on invalid addresses is a poor use of Census Bureau resources. We’ll keep tabs on the outcomes of address file appeals, so let us know about any in your community.

Book criticizes use of census to apportion House seats

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

The Hartford Courant reports that an upcoming book by a Connecticut population expert criticizes how the Census is used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. According to the newspaper, a series of papers by Orlando Rodriguez, manager of the Connecticut State Data Center, form the basis of the book “Vote Thieves: Illegal Immigration, Congressional Apportionment, and Census 2010,” which is scheduled to be published this fall.

Rodriguez asserts that it’s unfair to use the raw head count to determine House seats, because it doesn’t account for non-voters and illegal immigrants:

But in “Vote Thieves,” Rodriguez argues that representation based on population size unfairly penalizes many Northeastern states and intensifies political polarization. The fundamental problem, Rodriguez says, is that states are given federal representation based on the total count of people there. Apportionment is not made according to voting turnout in states, and not according to those who are legal citizens.

This has two major effects, Rodriguez says. Apportionment by raw head counts hugely favors Southern border states at the expense of Northern and Midwestern states. Those Southern border states tend to have younger populations with low voter turnouts. But the generally older and high-voting populations of the North and Midwest are given fewer representatives and thus fewer votes in the House.

If voter turnout in the most recent presidential elections, instead of raw head counts, was used in assigning House seats, Rodriguez’s calculations show that Connecticut would actually gain a House seat.

It’s unlikely that we’ll see a shift in the way the census is used to determine Congressional representation soon, but Rodriguez makes some pretty interesting arguments against using the raw head count. If you buy Rodriguez’s claims, relying on voter turnout instead could give states an incentive to maximize voter turnout, reduce disenfranchisement and draw competitive legislative districts to draw in moderate voters. And it’s pretty hard to argue against at least taking a closer look at a method of determining House seats that might do that.