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.


1. I may have misheard Dr. Groves at the Wednesday Press conference when I wrote that he said 2010 response rates were as good as they were in 2000.

2. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that 2010 response rates are significantly WORSE than they were in 2000. My suspicions were also raised today when I learned that the response rate increased by 14% in one day (technically just over 24 hours as the rate was 20% as o Wednesday’s update, 29% as of Thursday’s update and 34% as of Friday’s update).

I apologize for any inaccuracies, but I stand behind the data and statistics that I am reporting, and furthermore, other than the one statement above, I stand by the rest of my claims. I was likely confused when I heard Dr. Groves say “We’re off to a pretty good start.”

18 Responses to “Correction/Update”

  1. JAG Says:

    When did the rates go up 14% overnight? As I recall, it was 16% on Tuesday, 20% on Wednesday, 29% on Thursday, and 34% on Friday? I went up 14% in two days, not one day.

  2. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    16% on Tuesday, 20% Wednesday, 29% Thursday, 34% Friday is correct, but I am looking at the 24 hour period (+1 minute) if you want to get technical. Look at the 2000 rates here and you will see this is very high:

  3. GS-X Says:

    The Census 2000 real time mailback rates were irreproducible trash statistics.
    Anybody know where they are?

  4. anonymous Says:

    There are things going on you would not believe. But who can I trust?

  5. anonymous Says:

    Trash statistics — that’s so true and I have seen it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears. We were told to fabricate data in order to meet deadlines. Hiring numbers are inflated to make the bureau look good. The turnover rate is astronomical but they don’t publicize that because it would make them look bad. Instead of re-hiring, they new-hire to inflate the employment numbers. And that’s more money coming out of taxpayers’ pockets, because they have to start new, training (and I use the word “training” lightly because their idea of training is inadequate to say the least). They fire everybody they can EXCEPT the corrupt higher level employees including LCOMs and the LCOMs protect the people who know too much or the people who are providing special “favors”. You know exactly what I mean. They can get away with anything — and that’s exactly what they’re doing, on a daily basis. All that stuff about protecting “personally identifiable information” is a lie. The census bureau exists for one reason — to make money. They aren’t telling people what the official memo says — citizens only have to put something — anything — in the first three questions of their census forms, for that form to be counted. You don’t believe me, do some real investigative reporting a verify it for yourself. Are there any real invesetigative reporters left in America? Who is going to put an end to this massive fraud which is costing the American taxpayers literally billions of dollars. This has got to end. The IRS and FBI already have all information they need on anybody. If the census really just needs to count the number of people in an area, or see what the conditions are like such as poverty levels, need for new schools or roads etc. satellites can collect that data photographically and all they have to do is analyze it. That’s not what they want. The census bureau itself is wanting people’s information such as birthdays, names, etc. for one purpose and one purpose only — to sell it to advertisers. It’s time to change the Constitution and render the census obsolete. I need to find a way to be safely anonymous before blowing the whistle. END THE CENSUS. We should never have to be subjected to this massive waste, fraud, and intrusion ever again. The census is unnecessary due to modern information technology. END THE CENSUS!

  6. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    anonymous – would love to hear more information. you can trust me. i will never reveal your identity, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

  7. will Says:

    Stephen – perhaps more care in verifying your facts is called for? It would have only taken a day to wait to double-check against the transcript. Mistakes like this, and this is not the first time a “ready-fire-aim!” mistake has happened here, are undermining the site’s credibility.

    Considering how important the Census is to the nation, your watchdog role is an important one, but if we can not trust what is posted to be accurate from the first, there is no point continuing to read. Corrections days later are not an adequate substitute – if that is what we are going to get, then readers will have to start waiting a few days to see if one is forthcoming before taking what is posted here as reliable. Corrections work even worse in this medium than in newspapers, since the speed with which posts spread through the Internet makes corrections far-too-little-far-too-late. The damage of an inaccurate post is done long before a correction appears.

  8. FactChecker Says:


    According to this new math your using, there was a 14% jump in response rate in 24 hours (that’s 48 hours to normal people) which you say is 25 million forms. According to the Census Bureau, they delivered 120 million forms by mail and another 12 million by a census taker. 14% of 132 million is right at 18.5 million, not the 25 million you claim.

    I agree with Will’s thoughts……you call Mr Groves a liar and then acknowledge, only after the transcript is public by the way, that he didn’t say what you thought he said. Nice…..

  9. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Will – I appreciate your comments, and I acknowledge that my reporting this week has not been perfect. I am a one-man operation, and I wish I had some more help from the mainstream media in investigating these matters. Unfortunately, many of the issues that I hoped to shed to light seemed to have been overshadowed by small missteps that I have taken, which is understandable and ridiculous at the same time. I appreciate your support, and I assure you that I will be more rigorous with my fact-checking. However, it it difficult at times to reconcile fact-checking with the need to put information out to the public. Sometimes it is simply easier to let the public or officials correct me if I am wrong, as respected blogs such as TechCrunch do on a regular basis. – SRM

  10. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    FactChecker. You are right that 132 million is the proper number, however I was using 200 million as a reference point since Dr. Robert M.Groves said in his speech on Wednesday, “I signed 200 million letters” on page 3 of the transcript that can be found here:

  11. will Says:

    Stephen – Please don’t take the criticism too harshly, we come back here as readers because you provide a valuable service. I’ve learned quite a few things since starting reading MTC that wouldn’t have come to light through the usual news media, and I’m sure most of your readers feel the same way. If anything, its because you have demonstrated the ability to do good investigative work that the expectations are higher. I think you’re doing more good than you realize, and the criticisms are because readers care and realize that you are covering important issues. Good journalism is one of the keys to a functioning democracy, by keeping citizens informed about what their government is doing; without it, corruption and bad governance too often goes unchecked, which hurts everyone.

  12. TR Says:

    End the Census… Good luck getting that through the Constitutional Amendment process.

    And this site would be nothing without the comments.

  13. Anonymous CL Says:

    Stephen wrote: “I am a one-man operation”

    What about Emily Babay, Emily Schultheis, and Evan Goldin?

  14. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    The Emilies are back in school at the University of Pennsylvania and worked here during their Winter recess. Evan Goldin runs the tech part of the operation, not editorial. – SRM

  15. Anonymous CL Says:

    Ah, I see. The Emilies are missed. ;-)


    “the response rate increased by 14% in one day (technically just over 24 hours as the rate was 20% as o Wednesday’s update, 29% as of Thursday’s update and 34% as of Friday’s update).”

    A point of clarification about the update timing: I don’t know what time of day they post the data or how current the data is when they post it, but let’s say for example it is current through and posted at 10am each day Monday through Friday.

    From 10am Wednesday to 10am Thursday is 24 hours. From 10am Thursday to 10am Friday is another 24 hours. So there are 48 hours (2 days) total between the 14%-change updates you’re talking about, not 24 hours (1 day) total. The time to subtract a day would’ve been if you’d been starting from thinking they were 3 days apart since Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday are three days; since you weren’t starting from thinking that, you overcorrected.

  16. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    I got it. Still pretty big jumps when compared with the 2000 data. The % is updated by the Census Bureau at roughly 4pm EST from Mon-Fri.

  17. NumberDoc Says:

    Perhaps you should also correct your terminology.

    A change from 20% to 34% is NOT 14%. In fact it’s:
    100*((34-20)/20) = 70% increase

    It is also correct to say that the response rate changing from 20% to 34% represents a 14 PERCENTAGE POINT increase.

  18. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Sorry Number Doc. You get the gist. I messed up on this one and have taken responsibility for that.