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 March, 2010

Counting Arabs In The 2010 Census

Friday, March 12th, 2010

New America Media has an interesting new article about counting Arab-Americans. Here’s a highlight (for full article click HERE):

According to the 2000 Census, the number of Arabs living in the United States was 1.25 million, a figure that many involved in this initiative believe is inaccurate, since Arabs traditionally have larger families than other ethnic groups in the United States. The Arab American Institute estimates the national population to be more than 3.5 million. Community activists say both numbers are too low.

One reason for the undercount, Qutami said, is that without a box to check Arabs write in a variety of terms – for example, Middle-Eastern, Arab-American or Palestinian — on the Census questionnaire, and the numbers get stratified.

The historical impact of technology on the 2010 Census

Friday, March 12th, 2010

As the 2010 Census approaches, more and more questions are pouring in about the history of the decennial census –spanning  from the 1790 Census to the present. From the Census Bureau’s self-recorded history, we’d like to give a hat tip to Vector1media.com for highlighting the following points about the progression of  technology and the census:

  • 1890 is the first year that census workers were given detailed maps to help complete their tasks, and it’s also the same year that an electric tabulating system was utilized for the count
  • 1950 was the first time a computer was used to tabulate results, and it was also the first computer designed for civilian use
  • 1960 was the first time that census results were digitally recorded (on magnetic tape)
  • 1970 was the first time that census data products were made available digitally on magnetic tape.
  • 1980 saw the creation of the State Data Center Program for easier access to digital data on computer tapes
  • 1990 was the year that the Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER), computer-based maps, was introduced. It also was the first year that data was released on CD-ROM
  • 2000 was when the Internet became the primary means of distributing Census data
  • 2010 won’t include the “long form” because this more detailed collection has been converted to the ongoing American Community Survey
  • Additionally, the Census Bureau sent out a media advisory today with historical Census Bureau information. Enjoy it here:

    1790
    (See < http://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/overview/1790.html>
    for more information)
    – Census Day was Aug. 2 (the first Monday of the month).
    – Six questions were asked.
    – The census was conducted in the 13 original states as well as the
    districts of Maine, Vermont, Kentucky and the Southwest Territory
    (Tennessee).
    – U.S. marshals, who conducted the census, submitted their results to
    Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, nominal director of the census.
    – President George Washington delivered the first “State of the Union”
    address on Jan. 8, 1790.
    – Rhode Island entered the Union as the 13th state, May 29, 1790.
    – U.S. population: 3.9 million. (more…)

    A Cool Tool For Tracking Demographic Data

    Thursday, March 11th, 2010

    I’m currently sitting in a lecture given by Susan Rasky of UC Berkeley’s Journalism School. She just shared with us a cool online tool from the Christian Science Monitor to track a whole load of American demographic data. Have fun using this site to compare areas of the United States with one another based on a whole load of cool factors ranging from Counties with a Whole Foods outlet to Counties with the highest foreclosure rates:

    http://patchworknation.csmonitor.com/

    MyTwoCensus Editorial: The “advance letter” mailing appears to have gone off (almost) smoothly…

    Thursday, March 11th, 2010

    Despite the threat of service cutbacks and job losses at the US Postal Service that were announced in recent days, the mailing of approximately 100 million “advance letters” appears to have gone off with only a few minor glitches. (See previous post about city names and zip codes being inaccurate in St. Louis!) Yes, this whole mass mailing concept should seem like a fairly simple process, but after the major printing debacle that occurred in 2000 (that could have been fatal to the advance letter process), we taking nothing for granted. Despite some small levels of populist discontent about the Census Bureau “wasting money,” the lack of discussion about the advance letter should be treated as a good thing, in that people are now generally aware that their 2010 Census form will arrive in the mail in one week. Let’s just hope that next week’s mailing, which is clearly the most important one in terms of obtaining data (and saving taxpayers money in the long run) is also a process marked by accuracy and efficiency.

    Advance Letter Trouble In St. Louis: Cities and Zip Codes Mixed and Mangled

    Thursday, March 11th, 2010

    Below are important highlights from an article on STLToday.com:

    Advance letters from the U.S. Census Bureau are causing confusion in parts of the St. Louis area that share common ZIP codes.

    But census officials said Tuesday that residents and municipal leaders shouldn’t be worried, the information will be correct on the forms, which are set to start arriving Monday.

    The one-page notes that residents received this week say the census forms are coming. The notes are part of an $85 million mailing effort to encourage the sending back of the forms. But some of the letters listed incorrect city names, prompting residents and officials to worry about the accuracy of the count.

    After the official census forms arrive, reminder postcards will be sent to areas with low responses, said Shelly Lowe, a spokeswoman for the Census Bureau’s national office.

    Some residents of O’Fallon and St. Peters received letters with the correct address and ZIP code, but the wrong city name — Cottleville. Cottleville residents are served by some of the same ZIP codes.

    Drabelle said the city received at least 20 calls from residents who were concerned about the city name error.

    Lisa Bedian, a spokeswoman for St. Peters, reported a similar number of calls. Part of St. Peters borders Cottleville, she said, but some of the residents who called about their letters lived several miles from the border.

    “People are worried about whether St. Peters is going to get credit for this,” Bedian said.

    She said the city was asking residents to call if they received an incorrect city name on their letters. She said that residents need not leave their names, but that the city was collecting addresses to get a sense of where the letters were sent.

    In St. Louis County, some Maryland Heights residents received letters addressed to Hazelwood. The city’s website told residents they would be counted as living in Maryland Heights. Sara Berry, a city spokeswoman, said the city had received a handful of calls.

    “We’re trying to get the word out as best we can and let people know to go ahead and fill out their forms,” she said.

    Dennis Johnson, a spokesman with the regional office in Kansas City, said an outside contractor prepared the letters using postal data. The city name on the letter will have no effect on the official census form, he said. Johnson said the official census forms had a bar code with information about exactly where the residence was situated. He said the Census Bureau had been working with city and county officials to make sure addresses were accurate.
    “It’s not going to affect the population count,” Johnson said. “They will be tabulated properly for each jurisdiction.”

    Scott Hanson, city planner in Edwardsville, said his city had had technicians review data from the census to make sure it included recently annexed properties. “We’re keeping a close eye on that,” he said.

    The letters generated controversy in 2000, too. That year, they included return envelopes for those who wanted to receive census forms in another language, but no English explanation was printed on the envelope.

    Accused Murderer Implements the “Census Defense”

    Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

    This is about as weird as it gets in 2010 Censusville…The following comes from the Associated Press:

    By GREG BLUESTEIN (AP) – 22 hours ago

    ATLANTA — A Georgia man accused of killing two people used an innovative legal strategy Monday in an attempt to get his murder charges dismissed. Call it the Census defense.

    Floyd Wayne Williams Jr. wants the charges dropped — or at least his trial delayed — until the 2010 Census is done so that a jury more accurately reflecting the county’s racial makeup can be chosen. Williams, who is black, is to be tried in the south Atlanta’s Clayton County, which has seen a surge in African-American residents since the 2000 Census.

    Jury pools in Clayton County, like many other jurisdictions, are drawn from voter registration lists, driver’s license data and utility records. The list is then balanced by race and gender from the Census to reflect a cross-section of the population.

    Williams, 31, argued his constitutional rights will be violated if he is tried by a jury drawn from the 2000 Census, when the black population was 50.6 percent, instead of 2007, when the number had swelled to 64.5 percent.

    There has been an increase in attorneys using a jury’s racial makeup as a defense argument, in particular as Hispanic and black populations in parts of the country have swelled since the 2000 Census, said Jeffrey Abramson, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law who has written a book about the role of juries.

    The U.S. Supreme Court could soon decide whether a Michigan man’s murder convictions should have been tossed out because there were too few black residents in a county’s jury pool. Diapolis Smith, who is black, was convicted by an all-white jury for shooting a man in Grand Rapids in 1991.

    “It does seem to be a systemic problem nationwide, because it’s difficult updating the list and also because the courts are reluctant to fault the existing lists,” Abramson said.

    The challenges like Williams’ are difficult to win, though, he said.

    “There’s just a sense that we do the best we can, that it would be difficult to find a list that is more representative,” Abramson said.

    Williams’ case has been drawn out since he was charged in 2002 with fatally shooting 48-year-old Alejandro Javier Gutierrez-Martinez and Jose Simon Arias, who was 16 months old, during a 2001 home invasion.

    State prosecutors soon announced they would seek the death penalty, but before the trial started Williams escaped the county jail in 2003. He was caught in Baltimore and is currently in jail in Georgia.

    At a hearing Monday, Williams’ attorneys contended that Clayton County should either use the 2007 population estimate or wait until the 2010 Census is completed. (more…)

    Washington Post: Muslims Wary Of Census Participation

    Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

    The following piece from The Washington Post reiterates a position that MyTwoCensus.com has expressed for quite some time now, because as recently as 2004, confidential data from the decennial census was handed over to federal law enforcement officials:

    By Tara Bahrampour

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010; 4:02 PM

    The millions of blue forms being mailed this month in the first census count since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, do not ask about religion. But the idea of answering any questions posed by the government makes some Muslims uneasy, so community leaders are worried that many may avoid the Census altogether.

    “A lot of people, they have the concern,” said Raja Mahmood, 50, a Manassas taxi driver who moved to the United States from Pakistan 25 years ago. “The majority of Muslims, they don’t want to draw attention.”

    Although he plans to fill out the census form — and the Falls Church mosque he attends, Dar Al-Hijrah, has encouraged it — Mahmood said many Muslims he knows are wary about why the government, which treated them with suspicion in the years after the terrorist strike, wants to collect information about them.

    “They can look for the count of how many people live here, and that’s a good thing,” he said, “but God knows what is in their heart.”

    Muslim leaders have been holding forums to explain the process. Last week, the Justice Department said that information-gathering and sharing provisions of the Patriot Act do not override federal confidentiality laws related to the Census, with stiff penalties for sharing information about an individual.

    “That would go a long way toward calming fears,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.

    Still, community leaders say they understand why people might be cautious. Many remember the trepidation that arose after 9/11, when men from some Muslim countries were required to register with the then-Immigration and Naturalization Service. The requirement led to deportations for visa violations or minor infractions unrelated to terrorism, Hooper said, adding that “whole neighborhoods were emptied.”

    (more…)

    Two Female Census Bureau Employees Assaulted In Separate Incidents In Maine

    Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

    There must be some major discontent against the Census Bureau in Maine, as Census Bureau employees faced angry citizens on at least two occasions in recent days.  (If you know of other incidents of assault or abuse against Census Bureau employees, please do not hesitate to let us know.) The following comes from the Maine Public Broadcasting Network:

    Gov. John Baldacci today is encouraging Mainers to fill out and mail back their 2010 Census forms, as authorities look into the alleged assaults last week of two Census workers in the state.

    Authorities told the Bangor Daily News that Wesley Storer, 61, of Bar Harbor is facing criminal retraint, assault and theft charges after tearing the ID badge off a 50-year-old female U.S. Census worker last Monday at an apartment building he owns in Harrington.

    Storer then blocked the woman from leaving the building, Washington County Sheriff Department officials told the paper. Officials say Storer was intoxicated.

    On Friday, a Brooksville man was charged with simple assault after he allegedly grabbed and pushed a 39-year-old female census worker who knocked on his door. Authorities say James Swift, 53, grabbed and pushed the woman after she tried to leave census papers on his doorknob. The worker did not require medical attention, the paper reports.

    U.S. Census workers are currently gathering information for the once-in-a-decade survey of population trends. The incidents have prompted a warning to Census staff. “It has not changed protocol for us, but we have reiterated to our staff to use extreme caution,” says Terry Drake, the local census office manager based in Augusta.

    Drake’s office is still hiring workers, and it’s too early to say whether the assaults will affect recruiting.  Drake says that the two workers who were assaulted are still on the job.

    Using Dora The Explorer To Reach A Hard To Count Demographic

    Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

    When we’re talking about hard-to-count groups in Census-land, we oftentimes forget one shocking statistic: Many people who have a child under the age of five in their household simply forget to list that child (or children) on their census forms. The Census Bureau is trying to combat this by partnering with Nickelodeon television show Dora The Explorer to spread the 2010 Census message. However, with less than one week before Americans start to receive their 2010 Census forms in the mail, we wonder if this initiative could have been timed to get the word out with more advance notice?

    On a semi-related note, see the below chart:

    Census Bureau Director to Launch Children Awareness Campaign Featuring
    Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer

    What: U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves and key partners will
    hold a press conference to launch a 2010 Census public awareness
    campaign, Children Count Too, about the importance of counting
    infants and young children on census forms. In support of this
    initiative, Census Bureau partner Nickelodeon will debut a new
    television spot featuring Dora the Explorer, the popular
    children’s character on the network’s award-winning animated
    preschool series. The briefing will include a media
    question-and-answer session.

    When: Tuesday, March 9, 2010
    10 a.m. (EST)

    Who: Robert M. Groves, director, U.S. Census Bureau
    Samantha Maltin, senior vice president of integrated marketing
    and partnerships, Nickelodeon
    Michael Laracy, director of policy reform and advocacy, Annie E.
    Casey Foundation
    William O’Hare, senior consultant, Annie E. Casey Foundation
    Chris Perille, vice president of corporate communications and
    public affairs, Mead
    Johnson Nutrition
    Maria Gomez, president, Mary’s Center

    Where: Mary’s Center
    2355 Ontario Road, NW
    Washington, DC 20009

    Check Your Mailboxes…

    Monday, March 8th, 2010

    The 2010 Census advance letters that were mailed today have started to arrive at homes across America. For questions or comments or complaints, share your thoughts in the comments section here!

    The text of the advance letter is as follows:

    Dear Resident:

    About one week from now, you will receive a 2010 Census form in the mail.
    When you receive your form, please fill it out and mail it in promptly.
    Your response is important. Results from the 2010 Census will be used to
    help each community get its fair share of government funds for highways,
    schools, health facilities, and many other programs you and your neighbors
    need. Without a complete, accurate census, your community may not receive
    its fair share. Thank you in advance for your help.

    Sincerely, Robert M. Groves
    Director, U.S. Census Bureau

    Twitter Watch: Tweet From West Virginia Raises Suspicions

    Monday, March 8th, 2010

    Since MyTwoCensus.com added a Twitter widget to the lower right side of our page in December 2009, it has been very easy to observe Tweets and dialogues from across the US that pertain to the 2010 Census. However, last week, we noticed a suspicious Tweet (see below) and contacted the person who posted it. Thus far, we have not recieved a response, but we must wonder: Are federal, state, regional, or local agencies hiring people (at $29.50 per hour!!!) to complete 2010 Census forms on behalf of prisoners? Is this legal? Will this produce a fair and accurate  count? On Friday, we inquired about this Tweet with the Census Bureau. They have not yet responded to our inquiry.

    Note: Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/MyTwoCensus

    MyTwoCensus Investigation: Conclusive Evidence That Burmese Translations For 2010 Census Are Wrong!

    Monday, March 8th, 2010

    UPDATE: The Census Bureau conducted business in early 2009 with an outside consulting firm to evaluate the accuracy of 2010 Census forms in four languages (Chinese, Russian, Korean, and Vietnamese). Additionally, here is some further evidence of problems from an external report (available in full HERE):

    Errors were discovered in the Vietnamese-language materials, including the sample
    Vietnamese Census Form.  The Bureau had been inconsistent in their word choice for “census,”
    using both “điều tra” and “thống kê” interchangeably.  For the Vietnamese community, “điều
    tra” or “government investigation” carries a negative connotation because it is associated with
    the communist regime.  While the Bureau recently fixed the online form, it is uncertain whether
    the corrections will appear in the printed census forms.

    In February, after being tipped off about translation errors on the Census Bureau’s foreign language forms, MyTwoCensus set out to conduct an investigation into Diplomatic Language Services, the firm that was contracted to conduct all translations for the 2010 Census. Our Freedom Of Information Act request has not yet been answered, so we started to contact leading foreign language scholars to translate forms for us and judge the quality of translations.

    One minority group that will suffer terribly because of poor translations is America’s Burmese community. Though there isn’t much reliable data on the Burmese-American community, a cursory read of the group’s Wikipedia entry reveals that “According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 16,720 persons of Burmese descent resided in the United States. That number is estimated to have risen to at least 50,000 today because of the large number of Burmese people seeking political asylum.”

    Regarding the Burmese translation (available HERE), Julian Wheatley, who serves as the President of the Burma Studies Foundation and works in the Department of Foreign Languages & Literature at MIT told us,  “There are some usage problems, which probably arose because the original translator stuck too close to the English. More obvious, one paragraph has been repeated. Towards the end, well into the second page, you’ll see the phrase (2010 Census) in parentheses. Above it is a small three line paragraph, and the two longer paragraphs above that — you’ll see them — are identical (one in bold, one normal). Presumably that is not as intended.”

    This investigation is ongoing. If you or anyone you know has noticed poor language translations on a 2010 Census form, we encourage you to contact us with specific information.

    2010 Census Timeline: March Is A Busy Month

    Monday, March 8th, 2010

    March 8-10: Advance letters are mailed to most homes.

    March 15-17: Forms are mailed to most homes.

    March 22-24: Reminder postcards are mailed.

    March 29-31: Workers count homeless people at shelters, soup kitchens/food vans, and selected outdoor locations.

    April 1-10: Second forms are mailed to many homes that haven’t returned first one.

    Census Bureau + NASCAR = Conservative Outreach Efforts

    Sunday, March 7th, 2010

    Back in October, I learned from Steve Jost that the Census Bureau would be sponsoring a NASCAR vehicle. Today, driver Greg Biffle will debut this 2010-Census emblazoned speed machine (the No. 16 Ford Fusion) for  the first of three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Today’s race will be held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway and the other races will take place at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 21 and Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, March 28.

    I’ll never forget when my dad told me that NASCAR is America’s number one spectator sport, so I hope that with an average of 120,000 spectators at each Sprint Cup Series event, many eyes will be on the the 2010 Census logo and “mail it back!” on the hood, rear quarter panels and rear bumper of Biffle’s car. Additional elements stemming from the $1.2 million sponsorship deal include television spots on Fox during the races, a public service announcement from Biffle and 10 show car dates across the country.

    (I’m hopeful that Greg Biffle — though I’d never heard of him before –  is the right man to carry the message. I’m not a NASCAR fan myself, but I wouldn’t be opposed to settling down with a beer and a bar-be-que for a few hours on a warm spring day with 120,000 of my dearest friends to watch Biffle’s car in action..)

    Natural disasters and recession mean more families doubling up…

    Sunday, March 7th, 2010

    A New York Times article about Haitian families “doubling up” in the wake up the January earthquake highlights yet another issue that census-takers will have to deal with…primarily in Florida, New York, and other areas with large Haitian communities.

    In other areas, such as Cleveland, Ohio — a city that some institutions suspect was undercounted in 2000 — the financial crisis and subsequent loss of jobs has resulted in extended families living temporarily…or long term…with one another. Nobody ever said enumeration would be easy…

    The Salvation Army vs. The Census Bureau

    Saturday, March 6th, 2010

    On Friday, MyTwoCensus obtained a Salvation Army directive (click HERE for it) that details the circumstances in which the religious/charitable organization will and will not be cooperating with the Census Bureau. Highlights from the directive are as follows:

    - Census takers will not be permitted to visit “group quarters” like Adult Rehabilitation Centers, Harbor Light Centers, transient lodges, residential facilities for children, and other temporary housing facilities “such as shelters for men, women, or families, in which the confidentiality of the beneficiaries is important to, and maintained by, the Salvation Army.”

    - Though the Census Bureau wants to count individuals at “soup kitchens” and mobile food vans, the Salvation Army will NOT allow the Census Bureau to enter such facilities due to confidentiality concerns. Census-takers will be directed to contact the Salvation Army’s national headquarters and/or their legal counsel.

    MyTwoCensus Editorial: A Rare Spell Of Bipartisanship Spells Good News For The 2010 Census

    Friday, March 5th, 2010

    Since Members of  the House of Representatives face re-election every two years, they are constantly campaigning, and always on the lookout for legislation that may be used to attack them. I suspect the fears of populist discontent and anti-Washington sentiment (perhaps combined with just a tinge of moral values) are what led all but two Republican members of the House of Representatives to support legislation that makes March 2010 “2010 Census Awareness Month.” This show of bipartisanship was unexpected yet welcome.

    Even former 2010 Census critic Michele Bachmann (R-MN) jumped on board this movement. This is an excellent first step to combatting anti-census sentiment that has swept the nation in the past few months, coinciding with the growth of the Tea Party movement.

    The level of GOP discontent with Michael Steele and the Republican National Committee should not be ignored: Yesterday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee unanimously passed a bill, with full GOP support (and even co-sponsored by Republicans Darrell Issa and Jason Chaffetz) to stop the RNC from sending mailers that misuse the word census.  MyTwoCensus has reported on this issue for months, and we are glad to see GOP officials acknowledging their party leader’s mistakes and holding the RNC accountable for their unethical fundraising methods.

    Transcript of Los Angeles 2010 Census Press Conference: Indianapolis, Indiana Gets Screwed!

    Friday, March 5th, 2010

    Apologies for the awkward numbering system, but that’s how the transcript came in…Check out how Indianapolis is getting SCREWED by the Census Bureau (scroll down to the Q&A portion…I understand that Dr. Groves was under the weather during this press conference, but still, there were way too few questions asked and answered here!):
    3                        TRANSCRIPTION OF

    4              THIRD ANNUAL 2010 CENSUS OPERATIONAL

    5                         PRESS BRIEFING

    6                          March 1, 2010 (more…)

    Politico: Republicans sign on to bill targeting RNC mailers

    Thursday, March 4th, 2010

    H/t to Ben Smith and the folks over at Politico:

    Two House Republicans have signed on to legislation that would outlaw fundraising mailings that could be confused with official Census documents.

    The bill, introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, was inspired by a Republican National Committee mailing that describes itself on its envelope as an “official document” and a “census document.”

    The mailing has drawn bipartisan criticism, but Republican operatives say it’s long been a lucrative fundraising tool for the RNC, which has defended it.

    But in what may be a mark of the difficult relationship between the RNC and the Hill, Rep. Darrell Issa and Rep. Jason Chaffetz have signed onto the legislation, which doesn’t mention the RNC mailer specifically, but would bar the use of the word “census” on the outside of envelopes delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.

    Spokespeople for Issa and Chaffetz didn’t respond to inquiries about their co-sponsorship of the legislation, which has 19 total sponsors and is being marked up this morning.

    UPDATE: Chaffetz did discuss the issue at a recent hearing: “Let me also say publicly that the Republican National Committee – I’m a Republican – sent out a so-called census across the country. I think that was wrong. I don’t think we should necessarily mandate or put in statute that you shouldn’t use the word ‘census,’ but I think it was deceiving at best. And I wish my party had not done that,” he said. “I would encourage others to not try to piggyback and take advantage of the word ‘census’ at a time that we’re trying to encourage participation. And I thought it was used as an enticement to open an envelope, and I wish they hadn’t done it. But I want to be fair on both sides and stand on principle. So I want to say that.”

    Notes From The Field: A Story Of Waste At The Census Bureau

    Thursday, March 4th, 2010

    UPDATE: Click on these documents (HERE and HERE) to view examples of just how much waste there is. We are also hoping that Census Bureau employees can send us photos and other documentation of entire warehouses full of materials being destroyed.

    The following story was written exclusively for MyTwoCensus.com by an anonymous upper-level local Census Bureau official in California. Maybe Tony Soprano should have won himself a Census Bureau contract, because it seems like waste management is an extremely lucrative business. Enjoy this:

    There have been many articles about bad technology and over-hiring of staff at the Census Bureau which has wasted millions of our taxpayer’s dollars. The bright side is that these jobs are providing a stimulus to our economy. However so far no one has spoken about the paper /printing waste at the Census Bureau which is the most visible part especially as a local census office employee.  From my initial estimates this waste could top at least in the millions and maybe a billion dollars.

    There are many forms of waste including: single sided printers, employee manuals on high quality paper, thousands of administrative forms and full color recruiting brochures which are printed and never used. Let us also not forget the promotional posters which partnership is scrambling to get rid of because after the questionnaires go out in two weeks they play a little role except encouraging people to mail it back. First, they are the high speed printers which default to print singled sided because we were told they were set that way for map printing. However if we try to default the printers to double sided for our other print jobs we are violating the contractor’s Harris Corporation warranty agreement. Add to that managers and clerks who each feel the need to print their own copy, and make copies of copies (single sided of course) and the occasional office idiot who does not check his printer settings before printing the two thousand page report single sided and we go through entire reams of paper in a day.

    Then there are the thousands of manuals and administrative forms on high quality paper we receive in our shipments. It would be a different story if the thousands of manuals were printed on 100% recycled newsprint, like the test prep books in the bookstore but they are not. Maybe I’d feel less guilty if the administrative forms we receive were being used, but they are not used. After each operation our manager receives a headquarters memo (attached) that authorizes them to throw out hundreds of boxes of administrative forms and manuals that were never used. And it doesn’t end there. The national processing center print millions upon millions of forms only to find out there is either an error or an update is needed making the previous editions garbage. We will receive a memo to destroy the old ones. Only to get another pallet of them and sometimes it’s the same version. Add to that the overestimated workloads we still have hundred of boxes of group quarters validation questionnaires and full color recruiting brochures left (and recruiting ends this month)

    After address canvassing which was a computer based operation we threw away hundreds of manuals but very little administrative forms. However after group quarters validation, the first paper based operation and the first wave of recruiting ended we threw away hundreds of blank administrative forms and outdated recruiting brochures. Since our local census office was in a building that didn’t recycle we put them in the shredding bin. But the bin filled up very quickly and we were told to just bag them in black garbage bags and dispose of them since they contain no sensitive information. It took us weeks of throwing out manuals, forms everyday before we were able to rid ourselves of it.

    One of the supervisors summarized it well when she said: “They treat all the employees like crap…tell everyone they are not willing to pay a cent of overtime and that they have to do their job in under 40 hours otherwise their work will be given to someone else or they will be terminated.” But then they spend your hard earned taxpayer’s dollars to print full color glossy recruiting brochures by the thousands, truck them across the country, have them sit idle in a storeroom only to throw them out a few months later.

    My TwoCensus should submit a FOIA request to expose this waste because this is frankly appalling. Among the questions the watchdog group should ask is:

    What is the total printing cost and amount of paper for the 2010 census broken down by: administrative forms, partnership posters, employee training manuals, census forms?

    How much waste has Shred-It, the national contractor for destroying sensitive information, received from the offices and how much revenue is being generated?

    Due to the overestimated workloads and overrecruiting exactly how much extra money went to printing these unused manuals, forms and promotional materials?

    How much money is Harris Corporation making by contracting high speed printers and computer equipment which are running up paper, toner and employee costs?

    How much money could of been saved if they printed the thousands of manuals on 100% recycled newsprint instead of high quality paper, double-sided all the printers and limited printing jobs to prevent accidental job spooling of thousand page reports?

    Next week when we receive our shipment for NRFU (which is like 30 pallettes), they should take back the 10 pallettes of material we still have in our office from last October we are not using to Indiana so they can get a sense of how much waste this is. I want MyTwoCensus.com to try to get Congress and the Inspector General’s office to expose this fruitless waste of money by visiting these offices, conducting an audit or trucking this waste to a centralized location so everyone to see how much waste was produced instead of black bagging it and trying to cover it up. In the age of being green, waste reduction and take back programs not only is the census stuck in primitive paper operation but it is producing administrative forms, manuals, color brochures and posters which are just being thrown away.