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.

Video from road tour launch

Did you miss the kick off events of the 2010 Census road tour on Monday? If so, you can catch a short clip from the tour’s launch in New York City:

The road tour vehicles will be posting updates and event locations on Twitter. We’ve compiled a Twitter list with the vehicles’ updates. View it here.

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6 Responses to “Video from road tour launch”

  1. Ignatius Says:

    So the primary reason to do this is to get your community’s share of billions of tax dollars bestowed upon the States by the Federal Government? And, secondarily, to make sure you get your share of political power?

    What I hear in this is the part about the hundreds of Billions of dollars being passed out by the Federal Government that they need help with in terms of determining where it should go.

    Some see this as manna from heaven. Others will recognize that these are tax dollars and are very skeptical that these programs achieve their intended results.

  2. Matt Says:

    Ignatius, since taxes exist, what would you suggest as the most accurate and fair way to distrube the money collected by taxes?

    Any thoughts on assignment of Reps to congress? Did you want to be helpful or just vent?

  3. Ignatius Says:


    I was commenting on the quality of the appeal being made. That is the basic argument as to why someone should participate.

    In the 2000 Census, we heard about “civic responsibility” and comparisons between the Census and jury duty. It was a pretty sophisticated message.

    This year’s appeal is to “getting your share” and not giving up governmental power.

    I was pointing out that this appeal is going to very quickly remind some of the population of what they dislike most about the Government.(i.e, Wrongheaded, ineffective programs supported by bundles of cash thrown at problems or people.)

    The census needs to be conducted for congressional apportionment.

    It’s a little hard to get from the other 9 questions to how all this cash is going to be handed out. Especially with these questions about Race and National orgin.

    I’d give this campaign a C-. But it’s not any worse than most of the campaigns the CB has tried. When there’s a mindset that the CB is entitled to the information and that it’s illegal for people to not cooperate, it’s no wonder that the marketing messages are less than great.

    Of course, they have a heck of a task. The Pew studies show that the American people by and large distrust the Federal Government. That’s probaly a significant part of the reason that only 50% of forms are filled out and returned.

    So the CB has decided that the way to increase the rate is to appeal the “get your share” motivation.

    I find it manipulative and nauseating.

  4. FactChecker Says:

    Article I, Section 2, United States Constitution…..

    Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers,

  5. Matt Says:


    Thanks for the clarification. I didn’t get your point from your original message, but I see it now. I guess the proof will be in the pudding (i.e., response rates, nonresponse bias, etc). Not everyone will like every appeal, so Census needs to use several (you only heard 2 on the Today Show clip)…Interviewers will likely to be prepared to offer others to resistant individuals.

    I think the current thinking in the survey research field is that civic duty is down in general, and that applies to surveys as well as volunteering, etc…others should weigh in if I’m misrepresenting this research. So participation requests often focus on “what’s in it for me” (e.g., low burden, financial incentive, etc). This is true throughout survey research. The Census is a special kind of survey, but it’s still time and effort on the part of each citizen. Assuming people have many and large time demands in their lives, it makes sense to me to make the request personal, in terms of “what I get”…but we’ll see how it all falls out.

    I do know research has gone into this campaign, so it’s not as if Bob Groves and Gary Locke were just coming up with these points off the cuff.

  6. Ignatius Says:


    I’m continuing this conversation because I think there’s a point you might find interesting.

    I have no doubt that focus groups would surface “What’s in it for me” as the appeal they think would be most effective. I’ve done scores of focus groups.

    But jumping from Focus Group answers directly to advertising strategy is quite a risky jump.

    The point I want to make is that the Census Bureau people have a “tin ear” for this sort of thing. Tha Advertising people will go with the campaign that the client will approve.

    If you haven’t read it, I suggest you get the Science Magazine article by Kenneth Prewitt titled, “What If they Gave a Census and Nobody Came.”

    I spent a career in the private sector in Marketing and I’m shocked at how different the environments are. And how difficult it is for people with the Government mind set to grasp Marketing concepts beyond the most fundamental ones. Their OK on the “science” of Marketing, but very weak on the “art”.

    In his article, Prewitt ends up suggesting that public resistance to surveys is high and growing and that it may be time to start looking at using Administrative data.