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 February, 2010

MyTwoCensus Editorial: Advice for Tea Party, GOP, and Conservative Leaders…Cut the nonsense and TELL YOUR PEOPLE TO MAIL IT BACK!

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

If Glenn Beck could say one thing about the 2010 Census to his activist audience, I would hope that he explicitly tells them to mail back their census forms when they arrive at homes across America in mid-March. The mathematical and economic principles behind this plea are simple: Taxpayers save $85 million for every one percentage point increase in the national mail back participation rate for the 2010 Census. This money comes from avoiding payment to approximately 600,000 Americans who will work on non-response follow-up (NRFU) operations this spring and summer by making phone calls and ringing doorbells of individual households that have not mailed back their forms. Boycotting the 2010 Census is completely contradictory to the goals of the Tea Party movement, as it will create significantly more government spending.

However, the aforementioned facts have not yet been embraced by FoxNews commentators or the right-leaning talk-radio media. Perhaps these institutions want to keep ratings high by railing against the feds, but this is really the most ludicrous form of hypocrisy one can imagine. Sadly, it is not only the right-leaning media that is to blame, as Michael Steele and the national GOP continue to send mailers out to party members that emulate 2010 Census forms. It is shocking that this practice has gone on for months now in all regions of the US, even as Rep. Patrick McHenry, the ranking Republican on the Census subcommittee on the Oversight and Reform Committee in the House of Representatives has railed against Steele’s nefarious and ill-informed actions. MyTwoCensus recommends that Congress immediately passes a law to stop this most deceptive and counterproductive form of advertising.

New Community Message Board Feature On MyTwoCensus.com

Friday, February 26th, 2010

MyTwoCensus has received multiple requests for us to create a message board function that will enable 2010 Census employees and curious Americans to ask questions about the decennial census and discuss its operations. We have answered your calls for action by creating community.mytwocensus.com – a place where words and media can flow freely. This forum will be a largely unregulated world where you are free to post as you wish and take discussion in whichever direction you choose. There are also options for you to post photos, videos, and information about events. We hope to get many active discussions going on this site. Should you want to use this new site anonymously or under an alias, you have that option.

In the future, you will be able to find this new community page by clicking on the “Join our MyTwoCensus community” button on the right hand side of this page.

(H/t to MyTwoCensus.com Chief Technology Officer Evan Goldin for setting this up!)

Consequences of the 2010 Census: Redistricting

Friday, February 26th, 2010

There are two major political consequences of the 2010 Census that this site will start to discuss on a more frequent basis. They are redistricting and (re)apportionment. That there are three articles I found today from far-reaching corners of the US that all discuss this topic is a testament to the growing discussion of these issues:

First, some historical background from Florida:

Census to alter political districts

Survey could make district lines more fair

By Abraham Aboraya | February 24, 2010

SEMINOLE COUNTY – It’s 10 simple questions with a decade of implications.

Every 10 years, as per the Constitution, the United States performs a census – a headcount and snapshot of everyone living in the U.S.

The original intent was to make sure that each state got its fair portion of people in the House of Representatives. But that was more than 200 years ago. What does the census mean these days?

The answer may surprise you, as the 2010 census could drastically change the future of politics in Florida – and in Seminole County. This is the first of two articles which will examine how a questionnaire could change the political landscape for the next 10 years, and maybe beyond.

And it all started with a Massachusetts governor in 1812.

The history

Chances are, you’ve never heard of Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry. But you’ve probably heard of the term gerrymandering.

Gerry was governor during the 1812 election and was responsible for drawing the voting districts. Gerry drew one district that slithered across the state, in the shape of salamander.

Gilbert Stuart drew a cartoon for the Columbian Centinel’s March 26 issue, and editor Benjamin Russel first coined the term gerrymandering to describe the district.

The name stuck, and now when a district is drawn to keep someone elected, or to keep minorities from gaining representation, that’s what it’s called.

And in Florida, there are some strangely shaped districts.

Florida’s salamanders

In South Florida, Florida Senate District 27 touches the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico through more than 140 miles of Florida.

The seat, held by State Senator Dave Aronberg, touches parts of Palm Beach County, Hendry County, Glades County, Charlotte County and Lee County.

Take a look at Florida House District 29: It starts just off the east coast of Florida in Fellsmere and west Vero in Indian River County, snakes west of Palm Bay into Brevard County, and then reaches up like a finger through Cocoa, Port St. John and Titusville. In one area, it’s surrounded on three sides like a peninsula by House District 32.

“They’re all created in those odd configurations in order to accomplish a certain political result,” said Ellen Freidin, the campaign chair for Fair Districts Florida. “They’re all created to be a Democratic or Republican district. And that’s what we’re trying to change.”

Freidin has been working for nearly the last four years to get enough signatures together to propose two constitutional amendments. This November, Floridians will be asked to vote up or down on Amendments 5 and 6.

Both would make it a constitutional requirement that the Florida House, Florida Senate and U.S. House of Representative districts be drawn along existing city, county and water bodies, when possible.

The heart of the issue, Freidin said, is making elections more fair. Florida has some of the least competitive elections in the country.

In the last decade, only 10 members of the Florida House of Representatives and one Florida senator have been defeated as an incumbent running for re-election.

Republican Ralph Poppell has represented District 29 since the 2002 elections, the first election after the district was redrawn. Aronberg has also represented District 27 since 2002.

“Incumbents almost never lose,” Freidin said. “They’re tailor-made to have the voters in there that would want to vote for one of these people.”

What about the Census?

When the 2010 census is finished, all those Florida districts – all those salamanders – will be redrawn by the Florida Legislature.

That’s a once-in-a-decade opportunity that Fair Districts Florida didn’t want to miss.

Mike Ertel, the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections, said that the salamander districts have been an issue forever.

“The whole purpose of the census, if you look at the core and its beginning, the only reason the census exists is to determine the number of people in congress,” Ertel said. “Everything else they do is an add-on to its core mission.”

Second, some discussions in Illinois to change the redistricting process:

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois Senate Democrats want to take the luck of the draw out of legislative and congressional district lines drawn every 10 years.

They proposed a plan Thursday that would allow a “special master” appointed by two Supreme Court justices of different political parties to draw a map in case of gridlock.

The three maps since the 1970 Constitution have been drafted by the political party whose name was drawn from a hat.

The 2010 Census will show population shifts that require new district lines. Chicago Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul (KWAH’-may RAW’-ool) says his committee’s plan would allow the Legislature first crack at map-drawing.

A Republican plan says sitting lawmakers should not be involved at all.

Voters have to approve any proposal to change the Constitution this fall.

Third, constitutional changes in Alaska:

Associated Press – February 24, 2010 9:04 PM ET

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The measure calling for a ballot question and constitutional amendment to add 12 seats to Alaska’s 60-seat Legislature appears to be making headway.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed its version of the measure Wednesday, while the House version gained eight cosponsors from both parties in the last two weeks.

The expansion is intended to ease redistricting after the 2010 Census count is in. Through redistricting, rural districts are expected to grow geographically while urban districts shrink to maintain roughly equal population representation. Over the years, the trend has made rural districts harder to manage. Sen. Albert Kookesh’s is the most egregious example, covering about half the state’s land area across nearly 1,000 miles.

Congratulations to 2010 Census Poster Contenst Winners

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Well, at least America’s future in Hopkins County, Kentucky has taken some good initiative:

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY – Hopkins County Fiscal Court appointed a committee to raise awareness about the upcoming census, so the Hopkins County Complete County Committee had a 2010 Census Poster Contest.   The committee chose a winner from grades 2 through 5.   The 2nd grade winner was Alexis Foster -Jesse Stuart Elementary School; 3rd grade winner was Dani Cruz – Jesse Stuart Elementary School; 4th grade winner – Rebecca Potts – Jesse Stuart Elementary School; and 5th grade winner was Brynin Carver from Hanson Elementary School.

All posters received will be on display at the Parkway Plaza Mall between March 15th and April 15th.  The four winning posters will be displayed in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Each child was presented a $50.00 savings bond that was donated by the following banks, Old National Bank, First United Bank, Integra Bank and United Southern Bank.

Census Bureau Sends Out Press Release About New Mapping Tool…But Fails To Let Us Know Where On The Internet It Can Be Found!

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

UPDATE: I found the mapping tool on the Census Bureau’s web site under the “Press Release” section. Click HERE to access it. Now, what I can say is that I hope this data is regularly updated throughout the headcount. BUT I have already noticed that data from some towns and cities is present while it is missing for others. The map is filled with blank spots. Why? I’m not sure, but I just e-mailed the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office for answers…

I’ve actually been waiting for the below press release for a really, really long time — ever since Steve Jost told me about this long-awaited new function of the Census Bureau’s web site when we met in Suitland back in October. However, the Census Bureau managed to screw this one up, because they didn’t include a link to the mapping site they are speaking of in their press release. A cursory check of 2010.census.gov reveals nothing of this new mapping tool to check response rates. Nor does a Google search for “2010 Census mapping tool” reveal anything other than the site that allows people to track the Census Bureau’s “Road Tour” vehicles. Come on Census Bureau…tell us where to find the tool!

U.S. CENSUS BUREAU NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, FEB. 25, 2010

Census Bureau Launches Online Mapping Tool Showing
2000 Census Response Rates to Help Communities
Prepare for 2010 Census

With mail-out of the 2010 Census forms less than one month away, the
Census Bureau today unveiled a new online mapping tool that allows
communities nationwide to prepare for the 2010 Census by seeing how well
they did mailing back their 2000 Census forms.

Visitors to the new Google-based map will be able to find the 2000
Census mail participation rates for states, counties and cities, as well as
smaller areas called “census tracts.” After the 2010 Census forms are
mailed out in mid-March, the online map will be updated to include a
tracking tool with daily updates of the 2010 Census mail participation
rates for local areas across the nation. Users will be able to compare
their 2010 Census progress using their 2000 Census rates as a benchmark.

“The future of your community starts with a look at its past,” said
Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves. “The 2000 Census map allows
communities to see which areas need extra attention and reminders to
improve mail participation. We will be challenging communities nationwide
to take 10 minutes to fill out and mail back their 2010 Census forms next
month.” The Census Bureau has also created an online toolkit with ideas
that communities can use to inspire their residents to improve their mail
participation rate.

The emphasis on encouraging mail participation in the census is a
practical one. For every
1 percent increase in mail response, taxpayers will save an estimated $85
million in federal funds. Those funds would otherwise be required to send
census takers to collect census responses in person from households that
don’t mail back the form. After the 2000 Census, the Census Bureau was able
to return $305 million in savings to the federal Treasury because mail
rates exceeded expectations ¯ a move the Census Bureau would like to repeat
in 2010.

In 2000, 72 percent of households that received a form mailed it back.
The mail participation rate is a new measure designed to give a better
picture of actual participation by factoring out census forms that the U.S.
Postal Service was unable to deliver as addressed. It should be
particularly useful in areas with seasonal populations or a large number of
vacancies or foreclosures.

As required by the U.S. Constitution, the once-a-decade census must
count every person living in the United States. Census data are the basis
for our democratic system of government, ensuring that representation in
government is equally distributed. The data also help determine how more
than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed to state local and
tribal governments every year. That includes money that could go toward
roads, hospitals, schools and critical social services.

“The 2010 Census Communications Contract: The Media Plan in Hard to Count Areas”

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

On Wednesday, February 24, 2010, the Information Policy, Census and National Archives Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled: “The 2010 Census Communications Contract: The Media Plan in Hard to Count Areas.” The hearing will take place in room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.

The witnesses scheduled to testify include:

Panel I

Dr. Robert Groves
Director
United States Census Bureau

Mr. Jeff Tarakajian
Executive Vice President
DRAFTFCB

Ms. Robbyn Ennis
Senior Associate Media Director
GlobalHue

Mr. Nelson Garcia
Senior Vice President/ Media Director
GlobalHue Latino

Panel II

Ms. Karen Narasaki
Executive Director
Asian American Justice Center

Mr. Arturo Vargas
Executive Director
National Association of Latino Elected Officials

Mr. Marc Morial
President and CEO
National Urban League

Ms. Helen Hatab Samhan
Executive Director
Arab American Institute Foundation

Panel III

Mr. Marcelo Gaete-Tapia
Vice President
Entravision Communication Corporation

Mr. James L. Winston
Executive Director
National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters

Ms. Sandy Close
Executive Director
New America Media

Mr. Danny Bakewell
Chairman
National Newspaper Publishers Association

Ms. Linda Smith
Executive Director
National Association of American Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.

Documents and Links


Opening statement of Subcommittee Chairman Wm. Lacy Clay

Prepared testimony of Dr. Robert Groves

Prepared testimony of Mr. Jeff Tarakajian

Prepared testimony of Ms. Robbyn Ennis

Prepared testimony of Mr. Nelson Garcia

Prepared testimony of Ms. Karen Narasaki

Prepared testimony of Mr. Arturo Vargas

Prepared testimony of Ms. Helen Hatab Samhan

Prepared testimony of Mr. Marcelo Gaete-Tapia

Prepared testimony of Mr. James Winston

Prepared testimony of Ms. Sandy Close

Prepared testimony of Mr. Danny Bakewell

Prepared testimony of Ms. Linda Smith

Witness List

Census humor is so rare, but a new YouTube video strikes gold…

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

The last funny video about the Census was an old Christopher Walken sketch on SNL, but now, for 2010, we have Hitler’s take on the 2010 Census advertising campaign (not offensive and safe to watch at work, don’t worry):

With no category of their own, Caribbeans need many boxes to ID race, ethnicity on US Census

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

The following story comes to us from the LA Times/Associated Press and echoes sentiments that have been expressed on this site for nearly a year. It is completely unfair to the people of Caribbean nations that they have no box to tick off. This lack of options will surely create a mess in identifying the actual origins and backgrounds of some two million Americans:

Jean-Robert Lafortune

Jean-Robert Lafortune, chairman of the Haitian American Grassroots Coalition for Miami, poses for photos Friday,, Feb. 19, 2010 in Miami. He feels there should be more selections for Haitian Americans to identify themselves on the census forms other than Afro-American or Negro. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter) (J Pat Carter, AP / February 19, 2010)

JENNIFER KAY Associated Press Writer
MIAMI (AP) — Identify yourself as being of “Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin” on the 2010 U.S. Census questionnaire, and you will get to be more specific about your ancestry, such as Mexican-American, Cuban or Puerto Rican.

But check the box for “black, African-American or Negro” and there will be no place to show whether you trace your identity to the African continent, a Caribbean island or a pre-Civil War plantation.

Some Caribbean-American leaders are urging their communities to write their nationalities on the line under “some other race” on the forms arriving in mailboxes next month, along with checking the racial categories they feel identify them best.

It’s another step in the evolution of the Census, which has moved well beyond general categories like “black” and “white” to allow people to identify themselves as multi-racial, and, in some cases, by national origin.

The wording of the questions for race and ethnicity changes with almost every Census, making room for the people who say, “I don’t see how I fit in exactly,” Census Bureau director Robert Groves told reporters in December. “This will always keep changing in this country as it becomes more and more diverse.”

In another push tied to the 2010 Census, advocates are urging indigenous immigrants from Mexico and Central America to write in groups such as Maya, Nahua or Mixtec so the Census Bureau can tally them for the first time.

The campaign in the multiethnic Caribbean community reflects a tendency, born from multiple waves of migration, to establish identity first by country, then by race.

“We are completely undercounted because there isn’t an accurate way of self-identifying for people from the Caribbean,” said Felicia Persaud, chairwoman of CaribID 2010, a New York-based campaign to get a category on the census form for Caribbean-Americans or West Indians.

About 2.4 percent of the U.S. population — more than 6.8 million people — identified on the 2000 Census as belonging to two or more races. A little less than 1 percent of the population — more than 1.8 million people — wrote in their West Indian ancestry.

And about 874,000 people — or 0.3 percent of the population — ticked boxes for Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders that year. If those islanders could get their own categories on the form, Caribbean-American leaders say, why not their communities?

Their lobbying efforts led to a bill in Congress requiring a box to indicate Caribbean descent on the census form, but it did not pass.

Looks like Census hearing is delayed due to Toyota hearings…

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

“The 2010 Census Communications Contract: The Media Plan In Hard To Count Areas” (2:00 PM)

Stay tuned…this should be an interesting hearing.

Watch the live video stream HERE!

The 2010 Census: Update of Schedule, Cost, Risk Management, and Communications Activities

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Here’s some testimony from yesterday’s Senate Subcommittee hearing:

The 2010 Census: Update of Schedule, Cost, Risk Management, and Communications Activities [PDF]

Inspector General Todd J. Zinser before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security

Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Census News Round-Up: Call Center Hiring, Census Forms Being Distributed, Groves Testifies In Washington About 2010 Census Jobs, New York Undercount?

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

1. From the Atanta Journal-Constitution: Ryla is hiring 1,400 people in Georgia to work at call centers from April-August, presumably for the Census Bureau’s non-response follow-up operations.

2. From the Terry Haute, Indiana Tribune Star: 2010 Census materials are already being distributed in hard-to-count areas of Indiana.

3. From Ed O’Keefe at The Washington Post:

A majority of the roughly 1.2 million temporary jobs created by the U.S. Census Bureau this year will be created in the late spring, agency Director Robert Groves said Tuesday.

Groves told a Senate subcommittee that 600,000 to 700,000 census takers will be hired from May through early July to visit individual households that fail to return census forms. Some workers currently employed in temporary positions are expected to reapply for new positions and get hired, he said.

“We over-recruited, clearly underestimating the labor market,” Groves said, acknowledging that the nation’s employment situation provided the Census Bureau with a wealth of eager applicants who, according to an agency statement, showed up for training at a much higher rate than they did during the 2000 Census.

4. The venerable New York Times reports that, “The city and the Census Bureau hope to avoid a repeat of the 1990 census, when the city challenged the count and the bureau acknowledged that it missed more than 240,000 New Yorkers.”

We asked the Census Bureau one very clear question and received an ambiguous answer…

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

The Question from MyTwoCensus.com:

Can you please confirm or deny that most 2010 Census jobs will last 1-3 weeks as opposed to 6 weeks-8 months?

(which has been stated by elected officials…)

The Census Bureau’s response:

Job duration is dependent on the amount of work available in a particular location.  These temporary, part-time jobs can last up to several weeks.  However, length of service is highly variable.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to give me a call or send me a note.

–Malkia

Malkia D. McLeod
U.S. Census Bureau
Public Information Office

MyTwoCensus Editorial: Tell us the truth!

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Yesterday, we reported a major discrepancy over 2010 Census jobs: For months, New York Senator Charles Schumer (D) and dozens of other elected officials have reported that 2010 Census jobs last from six weeks to eight months. However, in reality, many of these jobs last only for one to three weeks. For the millions of unemployed Americans in need of jobs, 2010 Census employment will only offer a false glimmer of hope.  The Census Bureau must stop recruiting workers under the false premise that these jobs will last for a lengthy period of time. Not only is this false advertising, but it could have undesirable effects on individuals’ decisions to take other lower-paying jobs that will likely last for longer than relatively high-paying census jobs, not to mention applicants’ mental health. MyTwoCensus calls on Members of Congress to immediately pass a bill that will force the Census Bureau to advertise using less deceptive measures which explicitly state how long workers will be working at the time they are recruited.

Census Bureau Official says Senator Schumer Was Misled: The Truth About Census Jobs

Monday, February 22nd, 2010
MyTwoCensus has received a contribution from a Census Bureau official (verified to make sure this person is for real but with her full anonymity protected) that will serve as a response to our recent story from Indiana:
Several weeks ago, I was in a test session where an applicant told me that he heard about the census from an announcement by Senator Chuck Schumer on the nightly news.  The Senator said the work would pay pretty well and go anywhere from ten weeks to six to eight months. The applicant was nonetheless shocked when I handed him this piece of paper which said that the test he took was for work lasting only one to three weeks…(SEE ABOVE DOCUMENT)

As there is much confusion, I thought I’d write this letter to clarify some misconceptions. The first myth is the census will begin hiring in early 2010 which has some truth to it. There will be several smaller operations and a small number of office positions but the number of jobs is neglible (less than 5%).
The majority of jobs will be in May 2010 for the Non-Response Followup operation where enumerators will knock on people’s doors and ask them to fill out a questionnaire. The second myth is that the jobs last anywhere from ten weeks to six to eight months. According to this sheet of paper, it will last up to three weeks.   In fact the embarrassing part is no one really knows how long the job will last.
However from November 2009 to April 2010 the Census Bureau is on a mission to recruit tens of thousands of people based upon a model they will need five applicants for every one position:
* because one person will decline the position (doubt it, the unemployment rate is in double digits)
* one won’t show up to training (doubt that will happen for god’s sake the unemployment has been the worst in any census in a half a century)
* one won’t complete training or pass the test (they assume the applicant pool is inherently dumb which isn’t true because of the high caliber of applicants in the recession)
* and one will quit the first week (ok that might happen if you don’t like getting the door slammed in your face)
Based on my experience I can tell you we have had very high test scores, few job refusals and high retention of staff. If this continues it will result in many people not getting hired. The Census Bureau is wasting money recruiting all these people for a small number of jobs. It needs to rethink this ridiculous model because as we all know they already made the startling admission that their cost estimation models are completely inadequate  (just look at address canvassing and group quarters validation).
Most areas are already meeting their recruiting goals but we have trouble recruiting in more affluent neighborhoods of New York. In typical census fashion when goals aren’t being met they throw bodies at it and hope it improves. They hire recruiting assistants (RAs) based off a test score and ask yes/no questions during the interview. You answer yes to all the questions you get the job. Every week they hire more recruiting and partnership assistants. There is no organization, they just ask you to take a whole bunch of brochures and cards and give them out in the hopes you will get people to take the test.
Everyone has the same ideas: visit church groups, public housing, non-profit organizations so there is duplication of work. When the recruiting goals aren’t being met RCC intimidates and offers little constructive help. There are regional technicians who just go around and tell us we’re not recruiting enough people…(especially this short Asian guy with a Napoleon complex and some guy who snoozes during meetings). They don’t seem to understand that no one wants to take a test for the possibility of a job a few months from now, lasting only one-three weeks for $18.75 an hour which barely pays the exorbitant rents of $3,500 a month. More test sessions are scheduled and more clerks are hired but the phones don’t ring anymore than they did last week. Judging by the way they do recruiting you think this is the first time they are doing this. But they’ve been doing this since the first census in 1790. (okay maybe they didn’t have to recruit workers on horseback but it seems like an amateur operation).

The Census Bureau needs some innovation here:

* track recruiting efforts by putting a unique code (corresponding to each RA) on each brochure so there is an incentive everything they hand out results in someone applying
* commission or compensation linked to performance
* targeted media ads in local newspapers (which I have yet to see)
* get the Census road tour vehicle out there or have recruiting assistants tranform their cars into promotional vehicles
* reaching out to business improvement districts and unemployment agencies to advertise their jobs

Track recruiting efforts by putting a unique code (corresponding to each RA) on each brochure so there is an incentive everything they hand out results in someone applying…And while they are at it someone should reevaluate this model which I know is wrong. They need to stop throwing needless money away to recruit people who won’t even get called. The model is get as many bodies to take the test, offer a small percentage of them jobs and tell them it will last eight weeks. Then headquarters realizes there isn’t any work, other areas are working faster and they are running out of money.
In order to save themselves embarrassment they will rush the operation because the quicker they finish the better they look and the less money they have to spend. Get the hopes up of thousands of unemployed Americans who need work to put food on the table. Rinse and repeat.
So if anyone is listening to me. We don’t need more people, we just need better workers, better leadership and a more realistic recruiting model. Perhaps this recruiting speech might be more fit:
Hi I’m a recruiting assistant with the United States Census Bureau. We’re offering jobs in your community, as an RA I can’t tell you how long the jobs will last. The jobs may last eight weeks, but will probably be more like one to three weeks. I actually don’t know because our leaders at Census Bureau headquarters don’t know either. I do know you will need to take a basic skills test in reading comprehension, math skills and reasoning. However if you don’t get a perfect score and you’re not a veteran you may not get hired. On a lasting note you will make good money for a few weeks, then headquarters will realize they overestimated the workload, over staffed the operation and are running out of money. To make themselves look good they will probably tell you to work faster, do a haphazard job or risk being terminated. Are you still interested in a job?

House of Reps. Committee To Probe Census in “Hard To Reach” Communities

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

From Radio Business Report:

A subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is planning to probe whether the word about the 2010 Census is being effectively delivered in certain “hard-to-reach” areas.

The hearing, entitled “The 2010 Census Communications Contract: The Media Plan In Hard To Count Areas” will be heard by the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives. The date is 2/24/10 at 2PM eastern.

The subcommittee is chaired by William Lacy Clay (D-MO), with Patrick McHenry (R-NC) serving as Ranking Member.

Seattle fortune cookies hold census message

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

From the Seattle Times:

The U.S. Census has launched a unique way of urging people to be counted: Tsue Chong Co. of Seattle is inserting five different messages urging census participation into 2 million fortune cookies being shipped to restaurants and groceries across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

By Lornet Turnbull

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Census Bureau is partnering with Tsue Chong Co. to create fortune cookies with a message about the upcoming count.

Enlarge this photoDEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The Census Bureau is partnering with Tsue Chong Co. to create fortune cookies with a message about the upcoming count.

Sporting caps promoting the U.S. census, visitors to Thursday's fortune-cookie rollout watch the cookies being made, then have a taste. Tsue Chong Co. is inserting five different census messages into 2 million cookies

Enlarge this photoDEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Sporting caps promoting the U.S. census, visitors to Thursday’s fortune-cookie rollout watch the cookies being made, then have a taste. Tsue Chong Co. is inserting five different census messages into 2 million cookies

Next time you crack open a fortune cookie, check the flip side. The federal government may have a message for you.

Tsue Chong Co., a fortune-cookie factory in Seattle’s Chinatown International District, is inserting five different census messages into 2 million cookies being shipped to restaurants and groceries across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

Like the usual predictions of wealth, fame and long life you’ll find on one side, the census missives on the opposite side are a bit … well … banal.

“Put down your chopsticks and get involved in Census 2010,” reads one message. “Real Fortune is being heard,” reads another.

It’s all part of a broader effort by the Census Bureau to spread the word about the upcoming population count on April 1. The nation’s 112 million households will begin receiving forms in the mail beginning in late March.

The decennial count helps allocate more than $400 billion a year in federal funds to state and local governments for programs such as public housing, highways and schools.

Census results help determine political boundaries as well as the number of representatives each state will send to Congress. Because Washington’s population has steadily grown, the state could pick up a 10th congressional seat after this year’s count.

There’s great financial motivation: Each uncounted person means a loss of about $1,400 in federal money per year, according to the Census Bureau.

Bessie Fan, co-owner of the family-run cookie and noodle factory, Tsue Chong, called it a “great thrill to partner with the census for such an important effort.

USA Today: Census software plagued by defects

Saturday, February 20th, 2010
Census Director Robert Groves is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill next week.
Enlarge image Enlarge By Carolyn Kaster, AP
Census Director Robert Groves is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill next week.

A key software system for the 2010 Census is behind schedule and full of defects, and it will have to be scaled back to ensure an accurate count of the U.S. population, according to a government watchdog report.Even as Census takers have begun the decennial head count in Alaska and other remote areas, the system is still not ready to handle the paperwork and payroll data for what eventually will be a half-million Census takers.

The software to schedule, deploy and pay Census takers is at risk, according to the report released this week by the inspector general for the Commerce Department, which includes the Census Bureau. If changes are not made, the Census risks ballooning costs, delays and inaccuracies.

The Census Bureau must deliver a complete count of the nation’s population to President Obama by Dec. 31. The counts are used to allocate each state’s seats in the House of Representatives every 10 years and more than $400 billion a year in federal aid.

Census forms will be mailed to more than 130 million households next month. One-third are not expected to send them back. Census workers will have to visit all of those addresses to collect demographic information.

The Census got a late start designing a paper-processing system because it initially had planned to equip workers with handheld computers to record data from households that don’t mail back questionnaires.

Those devices were scrapped in 2008 because of technical problems, forcing the bureau to fall back on a paper-based system for door-to-door follow-up visits, the Census’ most expensive phase. So far, the Census Bureau has budgeted $2.74 billion for this phase of the operation and $411 million more in case costs rise.

“This is a risky endeavor,” Census Director Robert Groves says. “We know it. We’re watching it very carefully. We’re trying to manage it.”

Because time is running out, the Census Bureau must work around the system’s shortcomings, according to the inspector general. That could mean printing more administrative forms and speeding up worker training.

The glitches continue despite staff “working two shifts per day, extended hours, weekends and holidays,” the report says.

The audit found that the software had 80 critical defects on Jan. 12, up from 26 a month earlier. Both testing and development were about three weeks behind schedule at that point.

“We now are facing trade-off decisions,” says Groves, who is scheduled to testify before Senate and House committees next week.

Indiana Reporter Tries To Take On The Census Bureau

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Why won’t Census hire Indy workers?

By David Barras

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – We told you Tuesday about thousands of Census jobs available in Indianapolis. So why can’t Hoosiers who have already passed the test get a job?

Angry, frustrated and in desperate need of a job is the way Judy Rawnsley of Indianapolis described herself after passing the Census test months ago and hearing nothing since. Rawnsley told 24 Hour News 8 she took the test in November.

“About two weeks later they called me and told me that I had either scored high or had a perfect score and would I come and test for management,” she said.

Judy took the Census management test at the Indianapolis Census Office on East 30th Street.

“And I’ve heard nothing. I have made several phone calls. I just get someone who answers a phone, and I get several stories. No one knows anything,” she said.

Judy called 24-Hour News 8 after seeing the story of the Indianapolis Mayor and a 7th District Congressman begging for people to apply for Census jobs.

“If there’s 5,000 jobs, I’d think there’s one that I can handle,” she said.

After calling the head of the local Census office and hearing nothing, 24 Hour News 8 went there looking for answers.

Sue Gettz, the local Census manager told us she couldn’t talk and referred us to the Chicago Office. Then she realized the camera was rolling, and told us we couldn’t use anything we taped.

Gettz said “I came to you because you’re at the front door.”

24-Hour News 8 Anchor David Barras said “because I tried to call and you wouldn’t answer me.”

“I understand that entirely,” said Gettz.

Gettz promised to have someone from Chicago call us, but like Judy we couldn’t get any answers from the local office.

“I know other people in this same situation. That have taken that test, and no one has heard anything about their test scores or what’s happening. Nothing,” Rawnsley said.

24-Hour News 8 did get a call from the Chicago Region. A spokesman there promised someone from the public information office would call back with the information 24-Hour News 8 asked for.

No one has called back. It’s the second day we were promised a call from the Chicago Region and never got it.

President Obama: We can’t move forward until you mail it back

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

A pretty innocuous and straightforward message from El Presidente was just released, so hopefully this won’t get politicized. The major downside here is that the geniuses at ad agency Draftfcb haven’t figured out that people should be able to embed video…so unfortunately you will have to click the link below to find this one…Here’s a press release from the Census Bureau :

President Obama Records Message Urging Participation in 2010 Census

Continuing a White House tradition of strong support for the census
dating back to 1790, President Barack Obama recorded a public service
announcement (PSA) encouraging national participation in the 2010 Census.
The 30-second PSA released today by the U.S. Census Bureau asks every
household to take 10 minutes to answer the 10 questions on the 2010 Census
form and to mail it back.

The PSA and a 20-second version are available now at
<http://2010census.gov/> and will be distributed to television and radio
stations by the National Association of Broadcasters’ Spot Center satellite
feed on Friday, Feb. 19. Stations are encouraged to broadcast the PSA
through April following their standard procedures appropriate for a
national public awareness campaign.

U.S. presidents in office during a decennial census have routinely
spoken in support of the census to encourage participation by all residents
in the country. President Dwight Eisenhower said of the 1960 Census:  “The
prompt, complete and accurate answering should be regarded as one of the
requirements of good citizenship.”

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush recorded a PSA about the rights
and freedoms we enjoy. “One of the ways our Constitution preserves our
rights is to require the government to conduct a census every 10 years. It
helps determine how you’re represented in Congress and what kinds of
government services you find in your community. So be a part of this great
democracy. Answer the census. It counts for more than you think.”

In 2000, President Bill Clinton spoke of the vital importance of the
census. “Behind all those numbers are real lives and real life stories. And
when you put them all together you see the patterns emerge. This is a
profoundly important issue if we want to make good decisions about where
we’re going. We first have to know exactly who we are.”

In addition to speeches and public service announcements, all presidents
serving during decennial censuses — from President William Howard Taft
through President Clinton — have issued a presidential proclamation on or
before Census Day, which has been on April 1 from 1930 to the present. The
10 proclamations can be viewed in the attached video along with images of
other presidential efforts supporting the censuses of 1930, 1990 and 2000.

Message from the President of the United States on the 2010 Census
The White House

“Every 10 years, our Constitution requires the federal government to
conduct a census. This helps determine your representation in Congress, as
well as how federal funds are spent on things like schools and roads, and
where businesses decide to put new stores and factories. So when you get
your census form in mid-March, take about 10 minutes to answer 10 questions
– remembering to include everyone in your household. Because we can’t move
forward until you mail it back.”

To Steve Jost: This Is What You Can Learn From Guam

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

If American students had small  financial incentives to design posters (or YouTube videos), then perhaps participation rates for the 2010 Census would be higher…let’s take some lessons from our South Pacific cousin, Guam:

Source:  GuamPdm.com

The 2010 Guam Census is soliciting all Guam students to participate in a student poster competition to educate Guam residents about the upcoming Census. All public and private elementary and high schools are invited to participate from now through 5 p.m. March 12.

Students are encouraged to paint, draw and create a poster describing what the Census means to them and the community, according to a Census news release. The theme is “2010 Guam Census, It’s in Our Hands,” which must be incorporated in the 8-1/2 by 11-inch letter-size poster.

The first place winner will receive $250, second place $150, and third place $100, in each category. Winning entries will be used for advertising and promotional purposes, the release added.

Pick up entry forms at the local Census office, 770 East Sunset Blvd., Suite 280, Tiyan